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SUBSCRIBING TO THE BeRNE CONVENTION
HILE an author is still living
he has rights that a biographer
is bound to respect. If he
states that he was born on a
certain day, in a certain year,
at a certain place, it is the bio-
garpher's duty to accept these statements with-
out question. He may suspect that the author
has taken the facts on hearsay evidence, but he
must leave it to some conscientious biographer
of the future to consult the parish register and
verify the details.
Moreover, if the author occasionally indulges
in autobiography and sets forth expUcitly what
he regards as the effects of the various events
of his life on his career, the biographer will be
wise to accept these confidences in a thankful
Being convinced of the soundness of these
views, the work of the present biographer of
Stephen Leacock is greatly simplified. By let-
ting Mr. Leacock, as far as possible, tell the
— 1 —
story of his own life, his labors will be reduced
to a minimum and the enjo3nnent of the reader
greatly increased. Mr. Leacock can tell the
story of his life better than anyone else — and
this is how he does it.
"I was born at Swanmoor, Hants, England,
on December 30, 1869. I am not aware that
there was any conjunction of the planets at the
time, but should think it extremely likely. My
parents migrated to Canada in 1876, and my
father took up a farm near Lake Simcoe, in On-
tario. This was during the hard times of Cana-
dian farming, and my father was just able by
great diUgence to pay the hired man, and, in
years of great plenty, to raise enough grain to
have seed for the next year's crop without buy-
ing any. By this process my brothers and I
were inevitably driven off the land, and have
become professors, business men, and engi-
neers, instead of being able to grow up as farm
laborers. Yet I saw enough of farming to
speak exuberantly in poUtical addresses of the
joy of early rising and the deep sleep, both of
body and intellect, that is induced by honest
"I was educated at Upper Canada College,
Toronto, of which I was head boy in 1887.
— 2 —
From there I went to the University of Toronto,
where I graduated in 189 1. At the Univer-
sity I spent my entire time in the acquistion of
languages, living, dead, and half-dead, and
knew nothing of the outside world. In this
diligent pursuit of words I spent about sixteen
hours of each day. Very soon after graduation
I had forgotten the languages and found myself
intellectually bankrupt. In other words I
was what is called a distinguished graduate,
and, as such, I took to school teaching as the
only trade I could find that needed neither
experience nor intellect. I spent my time from
1891 to 1899 on the staff of Upper Canada Col-
lege, an experience which has left me with a
profound S3niipathy for the many gifted and
briUiant men who are compelled to spend their
lives in the most dreary, the most thankless,
and the worst-paid profession in the world. I
have noted that of my pupils those who seemed
the laziest and least enamored of books are
now rising at the bar, in business, and in public
life ; the really promising boys, who took all the
prizes, are now able with difficulty to earn the
wages of a clerk in a summer hotel or a deck-
hand on a canal boat,
"in 1899 1 gave up school teaching in disgust,
— 3 —
borrowed enough money to live upon for a few
months, and went to the University of Chicago
to study economics and political science. I
was soon appointed to a fellowship in political
economy, and by means of this, and some
temporary emplo3mient by McGill University,
I survived until I took the degree of doctor of
philosophy in 1903. The meaning of this de-
gree is that the recipient of instruction is ex-
amined for the last time in his life and is pro-
nounced completely full. After this no new
ideas can be imparted to him.
"From this time I have belonged to the staff
of McGill University, first as a lecturer in poli-
tical science, and later as the head of the De-
partment of Economics and Political Science.
As this position is one of the prizes of my pro-
fession, I am able to regard myself as singu-
larly fortunate. The emolument is so high as
to place me distinctly above the policemen,
postmen, street-car conductors, and other sala-
ried officials of the neighborhood, while I am
able to mix with the poorer of the business
men of the city on terms of something like
equality. In point of leisure, I enjoy more in
the four corners of a single year than a business
man knows in his whole life. I thus have what
the business man can never enjoy, an ability to
think, and, what is still better, to stop thinking
altogether for months at a time.
"I have written a number of things in con-
nection with my college life — a book on Poli-
tical Science, and many essays, magazine ar-
ticles, and so on. I belong to the PoUtical
Science Association of America, to the Royal
Colonial Institute, and to the Church of Eng-
land. These things surely are proofs of res-
pectability. I have had some small connec-
tion with politics and public life. A few years
ago I went all around the British Empire deli-
vering addresses on Imperial Organization.
When I state that these lectures were followed
almost immediately by the Union of South
Africa, the Banana Riots in Trinidad, and the
Turko-Italian war, I think you can form some
idea of their importance. In Canada I belong
to the Conservative party, but as yet I have
failed entirely in Canadian politics, never hav-
ing received a contract to build a bridge, or
make a wharf, nor to construct even the small-
est section of the Transcontinental Railway.
This, however, is a form of national ingratitude
to which one becomes accustomed in this
— 5 —
"Apart from my college work, I have writ-
ten two books, one called ' Literary Lapses '
and the other 'Nonsense Novels.' Each of
these is published by John Lane (London and
New York), and either of them can be obtained,
absurd as it sounds, for the mere sum of three
shillings and sixpence. Any reader of this
paper, for example, ridiculous though it appears,
could walk into a bookstore and buy both of
these books for seven shillings. Yet these
works are of so humorous a character that for
many years it was found impossible to print
them. The compositors fell back from their
task suffocated with laughter and gasping for
air. Nothing but the invention of the lino-
type machine — or rather of the kind of men
who operate it — made it possible to print these
books. Even now people have to be very
careful in circulating them, and the books
should never be put into the hands of people
not in robust health.
"Many of my friends are under the impres-
sion that I write these humorous nothings in
idle moments when the wearied brain is unable
to perform the serious labors of the economist.
My own experience is exactly the other way.
The writing of soUd, instructive stuff, fortified
— 6 —
by facts and figures, is easy enough. There
is no trouble in writing a scientific treatise on
the folk-lore of Central China, or a statistical
enquiry into the declining population of Prince
Edward Island. But to write something out
of one's own mind, worth reading for its own
sake, is an arduous contrivance, only to be
achieved in fortunate moments, few and far be-
tween. Personally I would rather have writ-
ten 'Alice in Wonderland' than the whole
'Encyclopaedia Britannica.' "
Of the two books mentioned above he gives
elsewhere an account that may be added appro-
priately to this autobiographical sketch. The
attention of the reader is called to the fact that
the sketches included in "Literary Lapses"
were written between 1891 and 1897, when the
author was in his early twenties. They were
not published in book form until fifteen years
later, when they made an immediate success.
Although they did not attract the attention of
book publishers when they first appeared in
Saturday Night, Life, Truth, Puck, The De-
troit Free Press, and similar publications, they
established Mr. Leacock's reputation as a
humorous writer with all who read these papers
at that time. They won for him many enthusi-
— 7 —
astic admirers who were not surprised at the
favor with which his writings were received
when gathered in book form. For years this
literary gold-mine lay hidden in the files of old
papers, while the author occupied himself
with the uncongenial task of school teaching
and with serious forms of writing and study.
Of his first book he writes :
"The sketches in 'Literary Lapses' were
very largely written in my younger days, just
after I left college. The one called 'A, B, and
C was the first of them. The editor of a To-
ronto paper gave me two dollars for it. This
opened up for me a new world : it proved to me
that an industrious man of my genius, if he
worked hard and kept clear of stimulants and
bad company, could earn as much as eight
dollars a month with his pen. In fact, this has
since proved true.
"But for many years I stopped this sort of
thing and was busy with books on history and
politics, and with college work. Later on I
gathered these sketches together and sent
them to the pubUshers of my 'Elements of
Pohtical Economy.' They thought I had gone
"I therefore printed the sketches on my own
— 8 —
account and sold them through a news com-
pany. We sold 3,000 copies in two months.
In this modest form the book fell into the hands
of my good friend — as he has since become —
Mr. John Lane. He read the sketches on a
steamer while returning from Montreal to
London, and on his arrival in England he ca-
bled me an offer to pubUsh the book in regular
form. I cabled back, 'Accept your ofifer with
many thanks.' Some years after Mr. Lane,
at a dinner in London, told this incident and
said that it proved to him that I must be the
kind of man who would spend seventy-five
cents in saying 'many thanks.' "
Of "Nonsense Novels" he writes:
"The stories in this book I wrote for a news-
paper sjmdicate in 1910. They were not meant
as parodies of the work of any particular author.
They are types done in burlesque.
"Of the many forms of humorous writings
pure burlesque is, to my thinking, one of the
hardest — I could almost feel like saying, the
hardest — to do properly. It has to face the
cruel test of whether the reader does or does
not laugh. Other forms of humor avoid this.
Grave friends of mine tell me that they get an
exquisite humor, for instance, from the works
— 9 —
of John Milton. But I never see them laugh
at them. They say that 'Paradise Lost' is
saturated with humor. To me, I regret to say,
it seems scarcely damp.
"Burlesque, of course, beside the beauti-
ful broad canvas of a Dickens or a Scott, shrinks
to a poor mean rag. It is, in fact, so limited in
scope that it is scarcely worth while. I do not
wish for a moment to exalt it. But it appears
to me, I repeat, a singularly difficult thing to do
properly. It is to be remembered, of course,
that the work of the really great humorists,
let us say Dickens and Mark Twain, contains
pages and pages that are in their essence bur-
It would be possible to make quite a bulky
volume of autobiography if one pursued the
search through all of Mr. Leacock's writings.
There are passages in the literary essays that
are frankly autobiographical, and doubtless
many of his sketches are burlesque renderings
of personal experiences. But we shall content
ourselves with just one more glimpse of his
life that he has given.
"When I was a student at the University of
Toronto, thirty years ago, I lived, from start
to finish, in seventeen different boarding
— 10 —
houses. As far as I am aware these houses
have not, or not yet, been marked with tab-
lets. But they are still to be found in the
vicinity of McCaul, D'Arcy, and St. Patrick
streets. Anyone who doubts the truth of what
I have to say may go and look at them.
"I was not alone in the nomadic life that I
led. There were hundreds of us drifting
about in this fashion from one melancholy
habitation to another. We lived as a rule two or
three in a house, sometimes alone. We dined
in the basement. We always had beef, done
up in some way after it was dead, and there
were always soda biscuits on the table.
They used to have a brand of soda biscuits in
those days in the Toronto boarding houses that
I have not seen since. They were better than
dog biscuit, but with not so much snap. My
contemporaries will remember them. A great
many of the leading barristers and professional
men of Toronto were fed on them."
While these quotations are satisfying
enough, they fail in several important parti-
culars. They fail to tell that he was married in
New York, in the "Little Church Around the
Comer," in August of 1900, to Beatrix,
daughter of Lieut.-Col. Hamilton, of Toronto,
— 11 —
and that he has one son, who was born on
August 19, 1915, and named Stephen
Above all they fail to tell us what he looks
like, so that we may recognize him when we
see him on the street. But this omission
can be remedied by extracts from the writings
of his contemporaries. An open letter to
him in the Montreal Standard has this gem :
"I saw you in your native habitat, with your
protective coloring all about you, and I have
been able to pick you out ever since.
"It was a bright August afternoon, as I
remember, and you were honoring Lake
Couchiching with your presence on holiday.
You were fully clad in a suit of dungarees,
waders, a cow-bite hat, and v/hiskers of at
least three days wilfulness. Waist-high in
the water you pushed ahead of you a sort of
young scow, pausing ever and anon to curse
a short, black pipe with a hiccup in its stem.
The scow was loaded with stones, with which
you calculated to build an oven in a remote
part of the island and pretend you were an
Indian. Even at that early date your playful
fancy was at work."
— 12 —
An interviewer pictures him as follows :
"At the minute of four I was at the Uni-
versity club. An imposing official in an im-
posing uniform ushered me into a still more
imposing room. It was a big room filled with
a chilly, academic sort of atmosphere — the
sort of room that made you feel very small;
that made you wonder why you ever presumed
to seek an interview There I sat for ten
long minutes, wondering what Leacock would
be like, what he would deign to tell me, what
I should dare to ask him; whether he would
be witty or just talk in academic phrases miles
above my head.
"Just then the door was sort of blown open
and the room was flooded with a bubbling
exuberance, 'lots of fun' and all the things
that go to dissipate an academic chilliness.
The entrance of Stephen Leacock was re-
sponsible. The room immediately took on his
very human personality. It became intensely
friendly. In a minute or so I found myself
talking to Professor Leacock as if he had been
a childhood friend regained after long years.
From the first minute he impressed me as
being 'understanding.' He seemed to laugh
more than talk, and his eyes absolutely danced
— 13 —
with merriment. His conversation was every
jot as witty as his books, and not for one
instant did he even suggest the professor.
Much more was he the big, happy schoolboy,
brimful of fun, very interested in all the
things that go to make or mar the world of
For this picture of him we are indebted
to an employee of the Library of McGill
"When three o'clock came round it was no
unusual thing to see him, a host of books and
papers under his arm, make giant and hasty
strides into the library to the delivery counter.
"With the coming of 'Literary Lapses,' Dr.
Leacock appeared before me in an altogether
different light. His familiar figure assumed a
new meaning. His fine, grave face, that boy's
mop of hair which always looks as if it had
just been washed the night before, and simply
refused to be brushed, the deep, vibrating
tones of his voice and his peculiar stride, had
always appealed strongly to me."
When Dr. Leacock was discovering England,
English observers discovered him. One of
them wrote his impressions as follows :
"Nobody, we must think, could be churlish
— 14 —
with such a man. A ripple of laughter spreads
round him wherever he moves; vexation
vanishes, ill-tempered people begin to chuckle
in spite of themselves, everybody crowds
about him to be entertained. So it must
happen; and it is not surprising if such a
visitor as this has found many nice things to
say of us. He has a way with him to soften
the ruggedest, to rouse the most inert, and
there is not the least credit in being jolly in
his company. Let his impression of the
English, therefore, be accounted to his own
irresistibility, not to ours. Professor Lea-
cock as an explorer, is at a certain disad-
vantage; he can never see people as they are
without the charm and enlivenment of his
"What is peculiarly delightful about him,
moreover, is that he never seems to be friendly*
and kindly out of mere politeness. Indeed
he is a man of whom at first sight we might
expect to feel shy; his quizzical glances have
a dangerous look; and sometimes we suspect
him of meaning more than he says. His
compliments have now and then a tweak of
— 15 —
Another English observer conveyed his
impressions in this fashion :
"Leacock was smiling all the while. He
was smiling just before 8.30, when he stood
in the gangway of Eltham Parish Hall, looking
out at and up at the great audience who had
come to greet him. Whilst the chairman was
introducing him to the audience, Mr. Leacock
sat and smiled, and for nearly an hour Lea-
cock smiled like a great human sunbeam.
"Well, if some one smiles at you and says
nothing, you are constrained to smile back
at him. It is a smile that invites a smile.
Leacock must have found that out, and just
as one tacks down an oil cloth to hold it to the
floor, so has Stephen Leacock nailed down
his world with that infectious, merry smile of
his which takes one right to a merry heart and
a merry brain. Punch once wrote of him :
" Anyhow, I'd be as proud as a peacock
To have inscribed on my tomb :
He followed the footsteps of Leacock
In banishing gloom.'
"His laughter quietly rocks a not entirely
giant frame, for Leacock is not a really big man.
He just escapes being this. Perhaps to him
the body just merely matters. About the
— 16 —
shoulders he is built largely and strongly,
these shoulders heaping up slightly behind into
the student's back. There is a not easily
forgettable face of fairly large proportions. It
is a live face, a kindly face. One writer has
spoken of his shaggy locks; they are hardly
this. A mat of closely growing hair lies all
over the head, and it has made its way, almost
creeper-like, far down on his broad forehead.
There is no curl, no wave — just what one may
call useful hair over a large, well-shaped head.
It is a head that reminds one of that of John
Masefield, the poet, but the faces of these two
men are very different.
"Does Leacock's body really matter? Not
that we wish to convey the idea that he is
mystic and ethereal. Body means appearance.
Mr. Leacock wears clothes, in spite of the fact
that he once wrote 'To Nature and Back
again.' For dinner and lecture purposes he
wears a form of dress which is quite careless
and easy. It has no 'fit' in the tailor's sense
of the word, but just that looseness which it
should have for the fireside talk he likes so
well. Is there the supreme insouciance of
some professors about him? There is and
there is not. When one looks at the highly
— 17 —
glossed, turned down (perhaps a touch of
Bohemianism) collar, and neat black bow above
the white shirt front, there is not ; but allowing
the eyes to travel downwards to his trousers,
one has to admit they have a peculiar vague-
ness about the knees that can only be obtained
by intensive scholarship."
Since his first success as an author, Mr.
Leacock's life has passed quietly as a pro-
fessor at McGill, and in his summer home at
Orillia. According to popular belief, he built
the house in which he lives in Orillia with his
own hands. This popular belief will be veri-
fied or disproven before going to press, if the
information can be dragged from him by
Since the publication of "Literary Lapses"
in book form, he has added a book a year to
his rapidly growing library of humor. In
1 92 1 he visited England on a lecturing tour,
and officially discovered the country— re-
cording his impressions in a book that may
be regarded as part of his autobiography. As
a matter of fact, the final biographer of Mr.
Leacock will only find it necessary to select
from his published works the material for an
adequate record of his life. Many of his
— 18 —
sketches record faithfully his dealings with
educationists, clubmen and the world in
general. In "Fetching the Doctor" he gives
us a glimpse of his boyhood.
Mr. Leacock's writings have placed him so
clearly before the public that there is little
for a biographer to do beyond recording the
usual facts of a quiet academic life. His
history is written in his own books for the
perusal of his host of admirers, who may be
found wherever the Enghsh language is read.
— 19 —
MY FINANCIAL CAREER
MY FINANCIAL CAREER
HEN I go into a bank I get
rattled . The clerks rattle me ;
the wickets rattle me; the
sight of the money rattles
me; everything rattles me.
The moment I cross the
threshold of a bank and attempt to transact
business there, I become an irresponsible
I knew this beforehand, but my salary had
been raised to fifty dollars a month, and I
felt that the bank was the only place for it.
So I shambled in and looked timidly round
at the clerks. I had an idea that a person
about to open an account must needs consult
I went up to a wicket marked "Accountant."
The accountant was a tall, cool devil. The
very sight of him rattled me. My voice was
"Can I see the manager?" I said, and added
— 23 —
solemnly, "alone." I don't know why I said
"Certainly," said the accountant, and
The manager was a grave, calm man. I
held my fifty-six dollars clutched in a crum-
pled ball in my pocket.
"Are you the manager?" I said. God knows
I didn't doubt it.
"Yes," he said.
"Can I see you," I asked, "alone?" I didn't
want to say "alone" again, but without it the
thing seemed self-evident.
The manager looked at me in some alarm.
He felt that I had an awful secret to reveal.
"Come in here," he said, and led the way to
a private room. He turned the key in the
"We are safe from interruption here," he
said; "sit down."
We both sat down and looked at each other.
I found no voice to speak.
"You are one of Pinkerton's men, I pre-
sume," he said.
He had gathered from my mysterious man-
ner that I was a detective. I knew what he
was thinking, and it made me worse.
— 24 —
MY FINANCIAL CAREER
"No, not from Pinkerton's," I said, seeming
to imply that I came from a rival agency.
"To tell the truth," I went on, as if I had
been prompted to lie about it, "I am not a
detective at all. I have come to open an
account. I intend to keep all my money in
The manager looked relieved, but still
serious ; he concluded now that I was a son of
Baron Rothschild or a young Gould.
"A large account, I suppose," he said.
"Fairly large," I whispered. "I propose to
deposit fifty-six dollars now and fifty dollars
a month regularly."
The manager got up and opened the door.
He called to the accountant.
"Mr. Montgomery," he said unkindly loud,
"this gentleman is opening an account. He
will deposit fifty-six dollars. Good morning."
A big iron door stood open at the side of
"Good morning," I said, and stepped into
"Come out," said the manager coldly, and
showed me the other way.
I v/ent up to the accountant's wicket and
— 25 —
poked the ball of money at him with a quick,
convulsive movement, as if I were doing a
My face was ghastly pale.
"Here," I said, "deposit it." The tone of the
words seemed to mean, "Let us do this painful
thing while the fit is on us."
He took the money and gave it to another
He made me write the sum on a slip and sign
my name in a book. I no longer knew what I
was doing. The bank swam before my eyes.
"Is it deposited?" I asked in a hollow,
"It is," said the accountant.
"Then I want to draw a cheque."
My idea was to draw out six dollars of it for
present use. Someone gave me a cheque book
through a wicket and someone else began
telling me how to write it out. The people in
the bank had the impression that I was an
invalid millionaire. I wrote something on the
cheque and thrust it in at the clerk. He
looked at it.
"What! are you drawing it all out again?"
he asked in surprise. Then I realized that
I had written fifty-six instead of six, I was
— 26 —
MY FINANCIAL CAREER
too far gone to reason now. I had a feeling
that it was impossible to explain the thing.
All the clerks had stopped writing to look at me.
Reckless with misery, I made a plunge.
"Yes, the whole thing."
"You withdraw your money from the bank?"
"Every cent of it."
"Are you not going to deposit any more?"
said the clerk, astonished.
An idiot hope struck me that they might think
something had insulted me while I was
writing the cheque, and that I had changed my
mind. I made a wretched attempt to look
like a man with a fearfully quick temper.
The clerk prepared to pay the money.
"How will you have it?" he said.
"How will you have it?"
"Oh" — I caught his meaning and answered
without even trying to think — "in fifties."
He gave me a fifty-dollar bill.
"And the six?" he asked dryly.
"In sixes," I said.
He gave it me and I rushed out.
As the big door swung behind me I caught
the echo of a roar of laughter that went up to
— 27 —
the ceiling of the bank. Since then I bank no
more. I keep my money in cash in my trousers
pocket and my savings in silver dollars in
— Literary Lapses.
DEFINITIONS AND AXIOMS
LL boarding-houses are the
Boarders in the same
boarding-house and on the
same flat are equal to one
A single room is that which has no parts and
The landlady of a boarding-house is a paral-
lelogram—that is, an oblong, angular figure,
which cannot be described, but which is equal
A wrangle is the disinclination of two
boarders to each other that meet together but
are not in the same Une.
All the other rooms being taken, a single
room is said to be a double room.
POSTULATES AND PROPOSITIONS
A pie may be produced any number of times.
The landlady can be reduced to her lowest
terms by a series of propositions.
— 31 —
A bee-line may be made from any boarding-
house to any other boarding-house.
The clothes of a boarding-house bed, though
produced ever so far both ways, will not meet.
Any two meals at a boarding-house are to-
gether less than two square meals.
If from the opposite ends of a boarding-
house a line be drawn passing through all the
rooms in turn, then the stovepipe which warms
the boarders will lie within that line.
On the same bill and on the same side of it
there should not be two charges for the same
If there be two boarders on the same flat,
and the amount of side of the one be equal to
the amount of side of the other, each to each,
and the wrangle between one boarder and the
landlady be equal to the wrangle between the
landlady and the other, then shall the weekly
bills of the two boarders be equal also, each to
For if not, let one bill be the greater.
Then the other bill is less than it might have
been — which is absurd.
— Literary Lapses.
— 32 —
THE TRAIN TO MARIPOSA
T leaves the city every day
about five o'clock in the even-
ing, the train for Mariposa.
Strange that you did not
know of it, though you come
from the little town — or did,
long years ago.
Odd that you never knew, in all these years,
that the train was there every afternoon, puff-
ing up steam in the city station, and that you
might have boarded it any day and gone home.
No, not "home" — of course you couldn't call
it "home" now. "Home" means that big red
sandstone house of yours in the costUer part of
the city. "Home" means, in a way, this
Mausoleum Club where you sometimes talk
with me of the times that you had as a boy in
But of course "home" would hardly be the
word you would apply to the Httle town, unless
perhaps, late at night, when you'd been sitting
— 35 —
reading in a quiet corner somewhere such a
book as the present one.
Naturally you don't know of the Mariposa
train now. Years ago, when you first came to
the city as a boy with your way to make, you
knew of it well enough — only too well. The
price of a ticket counted in those days, and
though you knew of the train you couldn't take
it; but sometimes from sheer homesickness
you used to wander down to the station on a
Friday afternoon after your work, and watch
the Mariposa people getting on the train and
wish that you could go.
Why, you knew that train at one time better,
I suppose, than any other single thing in the
city, and loved it too for the little town in the
sunshine that it ran to.
Do you remember how when you first began
to make money you used to plan just as soon
as you were rich, really rich, you'd go back
home again to the little town and build a great
big house with a fine verandah — no stint about
it, the best that money could buy — planed lum-
ber, every square foot of it, and a fine picket
fence in front of it ?
It was to be one of the grandest and finest
houses that thought could conceive; much
— 36 —
finer, in true reality, than that vast palace of
sandstone with the porte cochere and the
sweeping conservatories that you afterwards
built in the costlier part of the city.
But if you have half forgotten Mariposa, and
long since lost the way to it, you are only like
the greater part of the men here in this Mau-
soleum Club in the city. Would you believe
it that practically every one of them came from
Mariposa once upon a time, and that there
isn't one of them that doesn't sometimes dream
in the dull quiet of the long evening here in
the club, that some day he v/ill go back and see
They all do. Only they're half ashamed to
Ask your neighbor there at the next table
whether the partridge that they sometimes
serve to you here can be compared for a
moment to the birds that he and you, or he and
some one else, used to shoot as boys in the
spruce thickets along the lake. Ask him if he
ever tasted duck that could for a moment be
compared to the black ducks in the rice marsh
along the Ossawippi. And as for fish, and fish-
ing — no, don't ask him about that, for if he
ever starts telling you of the chub they used to
— 37 —
catch below the mill dam and the green bass
that used to lie in the water-shadow of the
rocks beside the Indian's Island, not even the
long, dull evening in this club would be long
enough for the telling of it.
But no wonder they don't know about the
five oclock train for Mariposa. Very few
people know about it. Hundreds of them
know that there is a train that goes out at five
o'clock, but they mistake it. Ever so many of
them think it's just a suburban train. Lots
of people that take it every day think it's only
the train to the golf grounds, but the joke is
that after it passes out of the city and the
suburbs and the golf grounds, it turns itself
little by little into the Mariposa train, thunder-
ing and pounding towards the north with hem-
lock sparks pouring out into the darkness from
the funnel of it. Of course you can't tell it
just at first. All those people that are crowding
into it with golf clubs, and wearing knicker-
bockers and flat caps, would deceive anybody.
That crowd of surburban people going home
on commutation tickets, and sometimes stand-
ing thick in the aisles — those are, of course, not
Mariposa people. But look round a little bit
and you'll find them easily enough. Here and
— 38 —
there in the crowd those people with the clothes
that are perfectly all right and yet look odd in
some way, the women with the peculiar hats
and the — what do you say? — last year's
fashions? Ah yes, of course, that must be it.
Anyway, those are the Mariposa people all
right enough. That man with the two dollar
panama and the glaring spectacles is one of
the greatest judges that ever adorned the
bench of Missinaba county. That clerical
gentleman with the wide black hat, who is ex-
plaining to the man with him the marvellous
mechanism of the new air brake (one of the
most conspicuous illustrations of the divine
structure of the physical universe), surely you
have seen him before. Mariposa people!
Oh yes, there are any number of them on the
train every day.
But of course you hardly recognize them
while the train is still passing through the sub-
urbs and the golf district and the outlying parts
of the city area. But v/ait a little, and you will
see that when the city is well behind you, bit
by bit the train changes its character. The
electric locomotive that took you through the
city tunnels is ofif now and the old wood engine
is hitched on in its place. I suppose, very
probably, you haven't seen one of these wood
engines since you were a boy forty years ago —
the old engine with a wide top like a hat on its
funnel, and with sparks enough to light up a
suit for damages once in every mile.
Do you see, too, that the trim little cars that
came out of the city on the electric suburban
express are being discarded now at the way
stations, one by one, and in their place is the
old familiar car with the stuff cushions in red
plush (how gorgeous it once seemed !) and with
a box stove set up in one end of it? The stove
is burning furiously at its sticks this autumn
evening, for the air sets in chill as you get clear
away from the city and are rising up to the
higher ground of the country of the pines and
Look from the window as you go. The city
is far behind now and right and left of you
there are trim farms with elms and maples
near them and with tall windmills beside the
barns that you can still see in the gathering
dusk. There is a dull red light from the win-
dows of the farmstead. It must be comfort-
able there after the roar and clatter of the city,
and only think of the still quiet of it !
As you sit back half dreaming in the car, you
— 40 —
keep wondering why it is that you never came
up before in all these years. Ever so many
times you planned that just as soon as the rush
and strain of business eased up a little, you
would take the train and go back to the little
town to see what it was like now, and if things
had changed much since your day. But each
time when your holidays came, somehow you
changed your mind and went down to Nara-
gansett or Nagahuckett or Nagasomething,
and left over the visit to Mariposa for another
It is ahnost night now. You can still see the
trees and the fences and the farm-steads, but
they are fading fast in the twilight. They have
lengthened out the train by this time with a
string of flat cars and freight cars between
where we are sitting and the engine. But at
every crossway we can hear the long, muffled
roar of the whistle, dying to a melancholy
wail that echoes into the woods ; the woods, I
say, for the farms are thinning out and the
track plunges here and there into great
stretches of bush — tall tamarack and red scrub
willow, and with a tangled undergrowth of
brush that has defied for two generations all
attempts to clear it into the form of fields.
— 41 —
Why, look — that great space that seems to
open out in the half-dark of the falling evening
why, surely yes — Lake Ossawippi, the big lake,
as they used to call it, from which the river
runs down to the smaller lake. Lake Wissa-
notti, where the town of Mariposa has lain
waiting for you there for thirty years.
This is Lake Ossawippi surely enough. You
would know it anywhere by the broad, still,
black water with hardly a ripple, and with the
grip of the coming frost already on it. Such
a great sheet of blackness it looks as the train
thunders along the side, swinging the curve of
the embankment at a breakneck speed as it
rounds the corner of the lake.
How fast the train goes this autumn night!
You have travelled, I know you have, in the
Empire State Express, and the New Limited
and the Maritime Express that holds the record
of six hundred whirling miles from Paris to
Marseilles. But what are they to this— this
mad career, this breakneck speed, this thun-
dering roar of the Mariposa local driving hard
to its home ! Don't tell me that the speed is
only twenty-five miles an hour. I don't care
what it is. I tell you, and you can prove it for
yourself if you will, that that train of mingled
— 42 —
flat cars and coaches that goes tearing into the
night, its engine whistle shrieking out its warn-
ing into the silent woods and echoing over the
dull, still lake, is the fastest train in the whole
Yes, and the best, too — the most comfort-
able, the most reliable, the most luxurious
and the speediest train that ever turned a
And the most genial, the most sociable too.
See how the passengers all turn and talk to
one another now as they get nearer and nearer
to the little town. That dull reserve that
seemed to hold the passengers in the electric
suburban has clean vanished and gone. They
are talking^listen — of the harvest, and the
late election, and of how the local member is
mentioned for the Cabinet and all the old fami-
liar topics of the sort. Already the conductor
has changed his glazed hat for an ordinary
round Christie, and you can hear the passen-
gers calling him and the brakesman "Bill" and
"Sam," as if they were all one family.
What is it now— nine-thirty? Ah, then we
must be nearing the town — this big bush that
we are passing through: you remember it
surely as the great swamp just this side of the
bridge over the Ossawippi? There is the
bridge itself, and the long roar of the train as
it rushes sounding over the trestle work that
rises above the marsh. Hear the clatter as we
pass the semaphores and the switch lights!
We must be close in now!
What? — it feels nervous and strange to be
coming here again after all these years? It
must, indeed. No, don't bother to look at the
reflection of your face in the window-pane,
shadowed by the night outside. Nobody
could tell you now after all these years. Your
face has changed in these long years of money-
getting in the city. Perhaps if you had come
back now and again, just at odd times, it
wouldn't have been so.
There — you hear it? — the long whistle of the
locomotive, one, two, three! You feel the
sharp slackening of the train as it swings round
the curve of the last embankment that brings
it to the Mariposa station. See, too, as we
round the curve, the row of the flashing lights,
the bright windows of the depot.
How vivid and plain it all is. Just as it used
to be thirty years ago. There is the string of
the hotel 'buses, drawn up all ready for the
train, and as the train rounds in and stops
— 44 —
hissing and panting at the platform, you can
hear above all other sounds the cry of the
brakesmen and the porters :
And as we listen, the cry grows fainter and
fainter in our ears and we are sitting here
again in the leather chairs of the Mausoleum
Club, talking of the httle T own in the Sunshine
that once we knew.
— Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.
— 45 —
THE LITTLE GIRL
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
OME," said Mr. Newberry;
'*there are Mrs. Newberry
and the girls on the veran-
dah. Let's go and join them."
A few minutes later Mr.
y Spillikins was talking with
Mrs. Newberry and Dulphemia Rasselyer-
Brown, and telling Mrs. Newberry what
a beautiful house she had. Beside them
stood Philippa Furlong, and she had her
arm around Dulphemia's waist; and the
picture that they thus made, with their
heads close together, Dulphemia's hair being
golden and Philippa's chestnut-brown, was
such that Mr. Spillikins had no eyes for Mrs.
Newberry nor for Castel Casteggio, nor for
anything. So much so that he practically
didn't see at all the little girl in green who
stood unobtrusively on the further side of Mrs.
Newberry. Indeed, though somebody had
murmured her name in introduction, he
couldn't have repeated it if asked two minutes
— 49 —
afterwards. His eyes and his mind were else-
But hers were not.
For the Little Girl in Green looked at Mr.
Spillikins with wide eyes, and when she looked
at him she saw all at once such wonderful
things about him as nobody had ever seen
For she could see from the poise of his head
how awfully clever he was ; and from the way
he stood with his hands in his side pockets
she could see how manly and brave he must be ;
and of course there was firmness and strength
written all over him. In short, she saw as
she looked such a Peter Spillikins as truly
never existed, or could exist — or at least such
a Peter Spillikins as no one else in the world
had ever suspected before.
All in a moment she was ever so glad that she
accepted Mrs. Newberry's invitation to Castel
Casteggio and hadn't been afraid to come.
For the Little Girl in Green, whose Christian
name was Norah, was only what is called a poor
relation of Mrs. Newberry, and her father
was a person of no account whatever, who
didn't belong to the Mausoleum Club or to any
other club, and who lived, with Norah, on a
— 50 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
street that nobody who was anybody lived upon.
Norah had been asked up a few days before
out of the city to give her air — which is the
only thing that can be safely and freely given
to poor relations. Thus she had arrived at
Castel Casteggio with one diminutive trunk,
so small and shabby that even the servants
who carried it upstairs were ashamed of it.
In it were a pair of brand new tennis shoes
(at ninety cents reduced to seventy-five), and
a white dress of the kind that is called "almost
evening," and such few other things as poor
relations might bring with fear and trembling,
to join in the simple rusticity of the rich.
Thus stood Norah, looking at Mr. Spillikins.
As for him, such is the contrariety of human
things, he had no eyes for her at all.
"What a perfectly charming house this is,"
Mr. Spillikins was saying. He always said
this on such occasions, but it seemed to the
Little Girl in Green that he spoke with wonder-
ful social ease.
"I am so glad you think so," said Mrs. New-
berry (this was what she always answered).
The whole thing from the point of view of
— 51 —
Mr. Spillikins or Dulphemia or Philippa re-
presented rusticity itself.
To the Little Girl in Green it seemed as
brilliant as the Court of Versailles, especially
evening dinner — a plain home meal, as the
others thought it — when she had four glasses to
drink out of and used to wonder over such prob-
lems as whether you were supposed, when
Franklin poured out wine, to tell him to stop or
to wait till he stopped without being told to stop,
and other similar mysteries, such as people
before and after have meditated upon.
During all this tim^e Mr. Spillikins was nerv-
ing himself to propose to Dulphemia Rasselyer-
Brown. In fact, he spent part of his time
walking up and down under the trees with
Philippa Furlong and discussing with her the
proposal that he meant to make, together with
such topics as marriage in general and his own
He might have waited indefinitely had he
not learned, on the third day of his visit, that
Dulphemia was to go away in the morning
to join her father at Nagahakett.
That evening he found the necessary nerve
to speak, and the proposal in almost every
aspect of it was most successful.
— 52 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
"By Jove!" Spillikins said to PhiUppa Fur-
long next morning, in explaining what had
happened, "she was awfully nice about it. I
think she must have guessed, in a way, don't
you, what I was going to say? But at any rate
she was awfully nice — let me say everjrthing
I wanted, and when I explained what a fool I
was, she said she didn't think I was half such
a fool as people thought me. But it's all right.
It turns out that she isn't thinking of getting
married. I asked her if I might always go on
thinking of her, and she said I might."
And that morning, when Dulphemia was
carried off in the motor to the station, Mr.
Spillikins, without exactly being aware how he
had done it, had somehow transferred him-
self to PhiUppa.
"Isn't she a splendid girl?" he said at least
ten times a day to Norah, the Little Girl in
Green. And Norah always agreed, because
she really thought PhiUppa a perfectly wonder-
There is no doubt that, but for a slight shift
of circumstances, Mr. SpiUikins would have
proposed to Miss Furlong. Indeed, he spent
a good part of his time rehearsing Uttle
speeches that began, "Of course I know I'm
— 53 —
an awful ass in a way," or, "Of course I know
that I'm not at all the sort of fellow," and so on.
But not one of them ever was delivered.
For it so happened that on the Thursday,
one week after Mr. Spillikin's arrival, Philippa
went again to the station in the motor. And
when she came back there was another passen-
ger with her, a tall young man in tweed, and
they both began calling out to the Newberrys
from a distance of at least a hundred yards.
And both the Newberrys suddenly exclaimed
"Why, it's Tom!" and rushed off to meet the
motor. And there was such a laughing and
jubilation as the two descended and carried
Tom's valises to the verandah, that Mr. Spilli-
kins felt as suddenly and completely out of it
as the Little Girl in Green herself — especially
as his ear had caught, among the first things
said, the words, "Congratulate us, Mrs. New-
berry, we're engaged."
After which Mr. Spillikins had the pleasure
of sitting and listening while it was explained,
in wicker chairs on the verandah, that Philippa
and Tom had been engaged already for ever
so long — in fact, nearly two weeks — only they
had agreed not to say a word to anybody till
— 54 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
Tom had gone to North Carolina and back to
see his people.
So the next day Tom and Philippa vanished
"We shall be quite a small party now,"
said Mrs. Newberry; "in fact, quite by our-
selves till Mrs. Everleigh comes, and she
won't be here for a fortnight."
At which the heart of the Little Girl in Green
was glad, because she had been afraid that
other girls might be coming, whereas she
knew that Mrs. Everleigh was a widow with
four sons and must be ever so old — past forty.
The next few days were spent by Mr. Spilli-
kins almost entirely in the society of Norah.
He thought them on the whole rather pleasant
days, but slow. To her they were an unin-
terrupted dream of happiness never to be for-
The Newberrys left them to themselves;
not with any intent; it was merely that they
were perpetually busy walking about the
grounds of Castel Casteggio, blowing up things
with dynamite, throwing steel bridges over
— 55 —
gullies, and hoisting heavy timber with der-
They left Peter and Norah to themselves all
day. Even after dinner, in the evening, Mr.
Newberry was very apt to call to his wife in the
dusk from some distant corner of the lawn.
"Margaret, come over here and tell me if
you don't think we might cut down this elm,
tear the stump out by the roots, and throw it
into the ravine."
And the answer was, " One minute, Edward ;
just wait till I get a wrap."
Before they came back the dusk had grown
to darkness, and they had redynamited half
During all of which time Mr. Spillikins sat
with Norah on the piazza. He talked and she
listened. He told her, for instance, all about
his terrific experiences in the oil business, and
about his exciting career at college; or pre-
sently they went indoors, and Norah played
the piano, and Mr. Spillikins sat and smoked
and listened. In such a house as the New-
berry's, where dynamite and the greater ex-
plosives were every-day matters, a little thing
— 56 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
like the use of tobacco in the drawing-room
didn't count. As for the music, **Go right
ahead," said Mr. Spilhkins; "I'm not musical,
but I don't mind music a bit."
In the daytime they played tennis. There
was a court at one end of the lawn beneath
the trees, all chequered with sunlight and
mingled shadow; very beautiful, Norah
thought, though Mr. Spillikins explained that
the spotted light put him off his game. In
fact, it was owing entirely to this bad light
that Mr. Spilhkins' fast drives, wonderful
though they were, somehow never got inside
the service court.
Norah, of course, thought Mr. Spillikins
a wonderful player. She was glad— in fact
it suited them both— v/hen he beat her six
to nothing. She didn't know and didn't care
that there was no one else in the world that
Mr. Spillikins could beat like that. Once he
even said to her,
"By Gad! you don't play half a bad game,
you know. I think, you know, with practice
you'd come on quite a lot."
After that the games were understood to be
more or less in the form of lessons, which put
Mr. Spillikins on a pedestal of superiority,
— 57 —
and allowed any bad strokes on his part to be
viewed as a form of indulgence.
Also, as the tennis was viewed in this light,
it was Norah's part to pick up the balls at the
net and throw them back to Mr. Spillikins.
He let her do this, not from rudeness, for it
wasn't in him, but because in such a primeval
place as Castel Casteggio the natural primi-
tive relation of the sexes is bound to reassert
But of love Mr. Spillikins never thought.
He had viewed it so eagerly and so often from
a distance that when it stood here modestly
at his very elbow he did not recognize its
presence. His mind had been fashioned, as
it were, to connect love with something stun-
ning and sensational, with Easter hats and
harem skirts and the luxurious consciousness
of the unattainable.
Even at that, there is no knowing what might
have happened. Tennis, in the chequered
light of sun and shadow cast by summer
leaves, is a dangerous game. There came a
day when they were standing one each side of
the net, and Mr. Spillikins was explaining to
Norah the proper way to hold a racquet so as
to be able to give those magnificent backhand
— 58 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
sweeps of his, by which he generally drove the
ball half-way to the lake; and explaining this
involved putting his hand right over Norah's
on the handle of the racquet, so that for just
half a second her hand was clasped tight in his ;
and if that half-second had been lengthened
out into a whole second it is quite possible that
what was already subconscious in his mind
would have broken its way triumphantly to the
surface, and Norah's hand would have stayed
in his, how willingly ! — for the rest of their two
But just at tliat moment Mr. Spillikins
looked up, and he said in quite an altered tone,
"By Jove ! who's that awfully good-looking
woman getting out of the motor?"
And their hands unclasped. Norah looked
over towards the house and said,
"Why, it's Mrs. Everleigh. I thought she
wasn't coming for another week."
"I say," said Mr. Spillikins, straining his
short sight to the uttermost, "what perfectly
wonderful golden hair, eh?"
"Why, it's — " Norah began, and then she
stopped. It didn't seem right to explain that
Mrs. Everleigh's hair was dyed.
— 59 —
"I didn't know she was coming so soon,"
she said, and there was weariness already in
her heart. Certainly she didn't know it ; still
less did she know, or any one else, that the
reason of Mrs. Everleigh's coming was because
Mr. Spillikins was there. She came with a
"Oughtn't we to go to the house?" she added.
"All right," said Mr. Spillikins with great
alacrity, "let's go."
There is no need to pursue in detail the
stages of Mr. Spillikins' wooing. Its course
was swift and happy. Mr. Spillikins, having
seen the back of Mrs. Everleigh's head, had
decided instanter that she was the most beauti-
ful woman in the world ; and that impression is
not easily corrected in the half-light of a shaded
drawing room ; nor across a dinner-table lighted
only with candles with deep red shades;
nor even in the daytime through a veil. In
any case, it is only fair to state that if Mrs.
Everleigh was not and is not a singularly
beautiful woman, Mr. Spillikins still doesn't
— 60 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
So the course of Mr. Spillikins' love, for love
it must have been, ran swiftly to its goal.
Each stage of it was duly marked by his com-
ments to Norah.
"She is a splendid woman," he said; "so
sympathetic. She always seems to know
just what one is going to say."
So she did, for she was making him say it.
"By Jove!" he said, a day later, "Mrs. Ever-
leigh's an awfully fine woman, isn't she? I
was telling her about my having been in the
oil business for a little while, and she thinks
that I'd really be awfully good in money things.
She said she wished she had me to manage
her money for her."
This also was quite true, except that Mrs.
Everleigh had not made it quite clear that the
management of her money was of the form
generally known as deficit financing. In fact,
her money was, very crudely stated, non-
existent, and it needed a lot of management.
And very soon after that Mr. SpilHkins was
saying, with quite a quaver in his voice,
"By Jove! yes, I'm awfully lucky; I never
thought for a moment that she'd have me, you
— Gl —
know — a woman like her, with so much atten-
tion and everything. I can't imagine what
she sees in me."
Which was just as well.
And then Mr. Spillikins checked himself,
for he noticed — this was on the verandah in
the morning — that Norah had a hat and a
jacket on and that the motor was rolling to-
wards the door.
"I say," he said, "are you going away?"
"Yes, didn't you know?" Norah said, "I
thought you heard them speaking of it at din-
ner last night. I have to go home ; father's
alone, you know."
"Oh, I'm av/fully sorry," said Mr. Spilli-
kins; "we shan't have any more tennis."
"Good-bye," said Norah, and as she said it
and put out her hand there were tears brim-
ming up into her eyes. But Mr. Spillikins,
being short of sight, didn't see them.
"Good-bye," he said.
Then, as the motor carried her away, he
stood for a moment in a sort of reverie. Per-
haps certain things that might have been rose
unformed and inarticulate before his mind.
And so m the fulness of time — nor was it so
— 62 —
THE LITTLE GIRL IN GREEN
very full either, in fact, only about five weeks —
Peter Spillikins and Mrs. Everleigh were
married in St. Asaph's Church on Plutoria Ave.
And the wedding was one of the most beauti-
ful and sumptuous of the weddings of the
September season. There were flowers, and
bridesmaids in long veils, and tall ushers in
frock coats, and awnings at the church door,
and strings of motors with wedding favors,
and imported chauffeurs, and all that goes to
invest marriage on Plutoria Avenue with its
peculiar sacredness. The face of the young
rector, Mr. Fareforth Furlong, wore the added
saintliness that springs from a five-hundred
dollar fee. The whole town was there, or at
least everybody that was anybody; and if
there was one person absent, one who sat by
herself in a darkened drawing room of a dull
little house on a shabby street, who knew or
— Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich.
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
OR THE LIFE STRUGGLE OF HEZEKIAH
AN you give me a job?"
The foreman of the brick-
layers looked down from the
scaffold to the speaker below.
Something in the lad's up-
turned face appealed to the
man. He threw a brick at him.
It was Hezekiah Hayloft. He was all in
homespun. He carried a carpet-bag in each
hand. He had come to New York, the cruel
city, looking for work.
Hezekiah moved on. Presently he stopped
in front of a policeman.
"Sir," he said, "can you tell me the way to — "
The policeman struck him savagely across
the side of the head.
"I'll learn you," he said, "to ask damn fool
questions — "
Again Hezekiah moved on. In a few
moments he met a man whose tall black hat,
black waistcoat and white tie proclaimed him
"Good sir," said Hezekiah, "can you tell
me — "
The clergyman pounced upon him with a
growl of a hyena, and bit a piece out of his ear.
Yes, he did, reader. Just imagine a clergy-
man biting a boy in open daylight! Yet that
happens in New York every minute.
Such is the great, cruel city — and imagine
looking for work in it. You and I who spend
our tune in trying to avoid work can hardly
realize what it must mean. Think how it must
feel to be alone in New York, without a friend
or a relation at hand, with no one to know or
care what you do. It must be great !
For a few moments Hezekiah stood irreso-
lute. He looked about him. He looked up at
the top of the Metropolitan Tower. He saw no
work there. He looked across at the sky-scra-
pers on Madison Square, but his eye detected
no work in any of them. He stood on his head
and looked up at the Flat-iron building. Still
no work in sight.
All that day and the next Hezekiah looked
— 68 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
A Wall Street firm had advertised for a steno-
"Can you write shorthand?" they said.
"No," said the boy in homespun, "but I can
They threw him down the elevator.
Hezekiah was not discouraged. That day
he applied for fourteen jobs. ^
The Waldorf-Astoria was in need of a chef.
Hezekiah applied for the place.
"Can you cook?" they said.
"No," said Hezekiah, "but oh, sir, give me a
trial, give me an egg and let me try — I will try
so hard." Great tears rolled down the boy's
They rolled him out into the corridor.
Next he applied for a job as a telegrapher.
His mere ignorance of telegraphy was made
the ground of refusal.
At nightfall Hezekiah Hayloft grew hungry.
He entered again the portico of the Waldorf-
Astoria. Within it stood a tall man in uniform.
"Boss," said the boy hero, "will you trust me
for the price of a square meal?"
They set the dog on him.
Such, reader, is the hardness and bitterness
of the Great City.
— 69 —
For fourteen weeks Hezekiah Hayloft looked
for work. Once or twice he obtained tem-
porary employment, only to lose it again.
For a few days he was made accountant in
a trust company. He was discharged because
he would not tell a lie. For about a week he
held a position as cashier in a bank. They
discharged the 1^1 because he refused to forge
a cheque. For three days he held a conductor-
ship on a Broadway surface car. He was dis-
missed from this business for refusing to steal
Such, reader, is the horrid degradation of
business life in New York.
Meanthne the days passed and still Hayloft
found no work. His stock of money was ex-
hausted. He had not had any money anyway.
For food he ate grass in Central Park and
drank the water from the Cruelty to Animals
Gradually a change came over the lad; his
face grew hard and stern; the great city was
setting its mark upon him.
One night Hezekiah stood upon the side-
walk. It was late— long after ten o'clock.
Only a few chance pedestrians passed.
"By Heaven!" said Hezekiah, shaking his
— 70 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
fist at the lights of the cruel city, "I have ex-
hausted fair means, I will try foul. I will beg.
No Hayloft has been a beggar yet," he added,
with a bitter laugh, "but I will begin."
A well-dressed man passed along.
Hezekiah seized him by the throat.
"What do you want?" cried the man in sud-
den terror. "Don't ask me for work. I tell
you I have no work to give."
"I don't want work," said Hezekiah grimly.
"I am a beggar."
"Oh! is that all," said the man, relieved.
"Here, take this ten dollars and go and buy a
drink with it."
Money ! money ! and with it a new sense of
power that rushed like an intoxicant to Heze-
kiah' s brain.
"Drink," he muttered hoarsely , "yes, drink."
The lights of a soda-water fountain struck
"Give me an egg phosphate," he said, as he
dashed his money on the counter. He drank
phosphate after phosphate till his brain reeled.
Mad with the liquor, he staggered to and fro
in the shop, weighed himself recklessly on the
slot machine three or four times, tore out
chewing gum and matches from the automatic
— 71 —
nickel boxes, and finally staggered on to the
street, reeling from the effects of thirteen
phosphates and a sarsaparilla soda.
"Crime," he hissed. "Crime, crime, that's
what I want."
He noticed that the passers-by made way for
him now with respect. On the corner of the
street a policeman was standing.
Hezekiah picked up a cobblestone, tlirew
it, and struck the man full on the ear.
The policeman smiled at him roguishly, and
then gently wagged his finger in reproof. It
was the same policeman who had struck him
fourteen weeks before for asking the way.
Hezekiah moved on, still full of his new idea
of crime. Down the street was a novelty shop,
the window decked with New Year's gifts.
"Sell me a revolver," he said.
"Yes, sir, "said the salesman. "Would you
like something for evening wear, or a plain kind
for home use. Here's a very good family
revolver, or would you like a roof -garden size?"
Hezekiah selected a revolver and went out.
"Now then," he muttered, "I will burglarize
a house and get money."
Walking across to Fifth Avenue he selected
one of the finest residences and rang the bell.
— 72 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
A man in livery appeared in the brightly-
" Where is your master? " Hezekiah asked,
showing his revolver.
"He is upstairs, sir, counting his money,"
the man answered, "but he dislikes being dis-
"Show me to him," said Hezekiah, "l wish
to shoot him and take his money."
"Very good sir," said the man, deferentially.
"You will find him on the first floor."
Hezekiah turned and shot the footman twice
through the livery and went upstairs. In an
upper room was a man sitting at a desk under
a reading lamp. In front of him was a pile of
gold. He was an old man, with a fooUsh,
"What are you doing?" said Hezekiah.
"I am counting my money," said the man.
"What are you?" asked Hezekiah sternly.
"I am a philanthropist," said the man. "I
give my money to deserving objects. I estab-
lish medals for heroes. I give prizes for ship
captains who jump into the sea, and for fire-
men who throw people from the windows of
upper stories at the risk of their own; I send
American missionaries to China, Chinese mis-
— 73 —
sionaries to India, and Indian missionaries to
Chicago. I set aside money to keep college
professors from starving to death when they
"Stop!" said Hezekiah, "you deserve to die.
Stand up. Open your mouth and shut your
The old man stood up.
There was a loud report. The philanthro-
pist fell. He was shot through the waistcoat
and his suspenders were cut to ribbons.
Hezekiah, his eyes glittering with the mania
of crime, crammed his pockets with gold pieces.
There was a roar and a hubbub in the street
"The police!" Hezekiah muttered. "I must
set fire to the house and escape in the con-
He struck a safety match and held it to the
leg of the table.
It was a fireproof table and refused to burn.
He held it to the door. The door was fire-
proof. He applied it to the bookcase. He ran
the match along the books. They were all
fireproof. Ever5rthing was fireproof.
Frenzied with rage, he tore off his celluloid
collar and set fire to it. He waved it above his
— 74 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
head. Great tongues of flame swept from
*'Fire ! Fire ! " was the cry.
Hezekiah rushed to the door and threw the
blazing collar down the elevator shaft. In a
moment the iron elevator, with its steel ropes,
burst into a mass of flame ; then the brass fit-
tings of the doors took fire, and in a moment
the cement floor of the elevator was one roar-
ing mass of flame. Great columns of smoke
burst from the building.
"Fire ! Fire ! " shouted the crowd.
Reader, have you ever seen a fire in a great
city? The sight is a wondrous one. One
realizes that, vast and horrible as the city is,
it nevertheless shows its human organization
in its most perfect form.
Scarcely had the fire broken out before
resolute efforts were made to stay its progress.
Long lines of men passed buckets of water from
hand to hand.
The water was dashed on the fronts of the
neighboring houses, thrown all over the street,
splashed against the telegraph poles, and
poured in torrents over the excited crowd.
Every place in the neighbourhood of the fire
was literally soaked. The men worked with
— 75 —
a will. A derrick rapidly erected in the street
reared itself to the height of sixteen or seven-
teen feet. A daring man mounted on the top
of it, hauled bucket after bucket of water on
the pulley. Balancing himself with the cool
daring of the trained fireman, he threw the
water in all directions over the crowd.
The fire raged for an hour. Hezekiah,
standing at an empty window amid the flames,
rapidly filled his revolver and emptied it into
From one hundred revolvers in the street a
fusillade was kept up in return.
This lasted for an hour. Several persons
were almost hit by the rain of bullets, which
would have proved fatal had they struck any
Meantime, as the flames died down, a squad
of policemen rushed into the doomed building.
Hezekiah threw aside his revolver and re-
ceived them with folded arms.
"Hayloft," said the chief of police, "I arrest
you for murder, burglary, arson, and conspir-
acy. You put up a splendid fight, old man,
and I am only sorry that it is our painful duty
to arrest you."
As Hayloft appeared below a great cheer
— 76 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
went up from the crowd. True courage always
appeals to the heart of the people.
Hayloft was put in a motor and whirled
rapidly to the police station.
On the way the chief handed him a flask and
They chatted over the events of the evening.
Hayloft realized that a new life had opened
for him. He was no longer a despised outcast.
He had entered the American criminal class.
At the poUce station the chief showed Heze-
kiah to his room.
"I hope you will like this room," he said, a
little anxiously. "It is the best that I can give
you to-night. To-morrow I can give you a room
with a bath, but at such short notice I am sure
you will not mind putting up with this."
He said good-night and shut the door. In
a moment he reappeared.
"About breakfast?" he said. "Would you
rather have it in your room, or will you join
us at our table d'hote! The force are most
anxious to meet you."
Next morning, before Hezekiah was up,
the chief brought to his room a new outfit of
clothes — a silk hat, frock-coat, shepherd's-
plaid trousers and varnished boots with spats.
— 77 —
"You won't mind accepting these things,
Mr. Hayloft. Our force would like very much
to enable you to make a suitable appearance in
Carefully dressed and shaved, Hezekiah
descended. He was introduced to the leading
officials of the force, and spent a pleasant hour
of chat over a cigar, discussing the incidents
of the night before.
In the course of the morning a number of
persons called to meet and congratulate Heze-
"I want to tell you, Sir," said the editor of
a great American daily, "that your work of last
night will be known and commented on all
over the States. Your shooting of the footman
was a splendid piece of nerve, sir, and will do
much in defence of the unwritten law."
"Mr. Hayloft," said another caller, "I am
sorry not to have met you sooner. Our friends
here tell me that you have been in New York
for some months. I regre,t, sir, that we did
not know you. This is the name of my firm,
Mr. Hayloft. We are leading lawyers here,
and we want the honor of defending you. We
may? Thank you, sir. And now, as we have
still an hour or two before the court, I want to
— 78 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
run you up to my house in my motor. My
wife is very anxious to have a little luncheon
The court met that afternoon. There was a
cheer as Hezekiah entered.
"Mr. Hayloft," said the judge, "I am ad-
journing this court for a few days. From what
I hear the nerve strain that you have under-
gone must have been most severe. Your
friends tell me that you can hardly be in a state
to take a proper interest in the case till you
have had a thorough rest."
As Hayloft left the court a cheer went up
from the crowd, in which the judge joined.
The next few days were busy days for Heze-
kiah, filled with receptions, civic committees,
and the preparation of the brief in which Heze-
kiah' s native intelhgence excited the admira-
tion of the lawyers.
Newspaper men sought for interviews.
Business promoters called upon Hezekiah.
His name was put down as a director of several
leading companies, and it was rumored that in
the event of his acquittal he would undertake
a merger of all the great burglar protection
corporations of the United States.
The trial opened a week later, and lasted
— 79 —
two months. Hezekiah was indicted on five
charges — arson, for having burned the steel
cage of the elevator ; misdemeanour, for shoot-
ing the footman ; the theft of the money, petty
larceny; the killing of the philanthropist,
infanticide ; and the shooting at the police with-
out hitting them, aggravated felony.
The proceedings were very complicated —
expert evidence was taken from all over the
United States. An analjrtical examination
was made of the brain of the philanthropist.
Nothing was found.
The entire jury were dismissed three times
on the grounds of prejudice, twice on the
ground of ignorance, and finally disbanded on
the ground of insanity.
The proceedings dragged on.
Meantune Hezekiah's business interests
At length, at Hezekiah's own suggestion, it
was necessary to abandon the case.
"Gentlemen," he said, in his final speech
to the court, "I feel that I owe an apology for
not being able to attend these proceedings any
further. At any time, when I can snatch an
hour or two from my business, you may always
count on my attendance. In the meantime,
— 80 —
A HERO IN HOMESPUN
rest assured that I shall follow your proceed-
ings with the greatest interest."
He left the room amid three cheers and the
singing of "Auld Lang Syne."
After that the case dragged hopelessly on
from stage to stage.
The charge of arson was met by a nolle
prosequi. The accusation of theft was stopped
by a ne plus ultra. The kiUing of the foot-
man was pronounced justifiable insanity.
The accusation of murder for the death of
the philanthropist was withdrawn by common
consent. Damages in error were awarded to
Hayloft for the loss of his revolver and cart-
ridges. The main body of the case was carried
on a writ of certiorari to the Federal Courts
and appealed to the Supreme Court of the
It is there still.
Meantime, Hezekiah, as managing director
of the Burglars' Security Corporation, remains
one of the rising generation of financiers in
New York, with every prospect of election to
the State Senate.
— Nonsense Novels.
— 81 —
THE SPIRITUAL OUTLOOK OF
NE generally saw old Mr.
Doomer looking gloomily
out of the v/indows of the
library of the club. If not
there, he was to be found
staring sadly into the embers
of a dying fire in a deserted sitting-room.
His gloom always appeared out of place,
as he was one of the richest of the members.
But the cause of it — as I came to know-
was that he was perpetually concerned with
thinking about the next world. In fact, he
spent his whole time brooding over it.
I discovered this accidentally by happening
to speak to him of the recent death of Podge,
one of our fellow members.
"Very sad," I said, "Podge's death."
"Ah," returned Mr. Doomer, "very shock-
ing. He was quite unprepared to die."
"Do you think so?" I said. "I'm awfully
sorry to hear it."
— 85 —
"Quite unprepared," he answered. "I
had reason to know it as one of his executors,
Ever3rthing in confusion — nothing signed, no
proper power of attorney, codicils drawn up in
blank and never witnessed; in short, sir, no
sense apparently of the nearness of his death
and of his duty to be prepared."
"I suppose," I said, "poor Podge didn't
realize that he was going to die."
"Ah, that's just it," resumed Mr. Doomer,
with something like sternness, "a man ought
to realize it. Every man ought to feel that at
any moment — one can't tell when — day or
night, he may be called upon to meet his" —
Mr. Doomer paused here as if seeking a phrase
— "his financial obligations, face to face. At
any time, sir, he may be hurried before the
Judge — or rather his estate may be — of the
Probate Court. It is a solemn thought, sir.
And yet when I come here I see about me men
laughing, talking, and playing billiards, as if
there would never be a day when their estate
would pass into the hands of their adminis-
trators and an account must be given of evsry
"But, after all," I said, trying to fall in with
— 86 —
OUTLOOK OF MR. DOOMER
his mood, "death and dissolution must come to
all of us."
"That's just it," he said solemnly.
"They've dissolved the tobacco people, and
they've dissolved the oil people, and you can't
tell whose turn it may be next"
Mr. Doomer was silent a moment and then
resumed, speaking in a tone of humility that
was almost reverential:
"And yet there is a certain preparedness
for death, a certain fitness to die that we ought
all to aim at. Any man can at least think
solemnly of the Inheritance Tax, and reflect
whether by a contract inter vivos drawn in
blank he may not obtain redemption ; any man,
if he thinks death is near, may at least divest
himself of his purely speculative securities and
trust himself entirely to those gold-bearing
bonds of the great industrial corporations
whose value will not readily diminish or pass
away." Mr. Doomer was speaking with some-
thing like religious rapture.
"And yet what does one see?" he continued.
"Men affected with fatal illness and men
stricken in years occupied still with idle talk
and amusements instead of reading the finan-
— 87 —
S.L. — 7
cial newspapers, and at the last carried away
with scarcely time, perhaps, to send for their
brokers when it is already too late."
"It is very sad," I said.
"Very," he repeated, "and saddest of all,
perhaps, is the sense of the irrevocability of
death and the changes that must come after
We were silent a moment.
"You think of these things a great deal,
Mr. Doomer?" I said.
"I do," he answered. "It may be that it is
something in my temperament. I suppose one
would call it a sort of spiritual-mindedness.
But I think of it all constantly. Often as I
stand here beside the window and see these
cars go by" — he indicated a passing street
car — "I cannot but realize that the time will
come when I am no longer a managing director,
and wonder whether they will keep on trying
to hold the dividends down by improving the
rolling stock or will declare profits to inflate
the securities. These mysteries beyond the
grave fascinate me, sir. Death is a myste-
rious thing. Who, for example, will take my
seat on the Exchange? What will happen
to my majority control of the power company?
— 88 —
OUTLOOK OF MR. DOOMER
I shudder to think of the changes that may
happen after death in the assessment of my
"Yes," I said, "it is all beyond our control,
"Quite," answered Mr. Doomer. "Especially
of late years one feels that, all said and done,
we are in the hands of a Higher Power, and
that the State Legislature is after all supreme.
It gives one a sense of smallness. It makes
one feel that, in these days of drastic legis-
lation, with all one's efforts the individual is
lost and absorbed in the controlling power of
the State Legislature. Consider the words
that are used in the text of the Income Tax
Case, Folio Two, or the text of the Trans-
Missouri Freight Decision, and think of the
revelation they contain."
I left Mr. Doomer still standing beside the
window, musing on the vanity of life and on
things, such as the future control of freight
rates, that lay beyond the grave.
I noticed as I left him how broken and aged
he had come to look. It seemed as if the chaf-
ings of the spirit were wearing the body that
— 89 —
It was about a month later that I learned of
Mr. Doomer's death. Dr. Slyder told me of it
in the club one afternoon, over two cocktails in
the sitting room.
"A beautiful bedside," he said, "one of the
most edifying that I have ever attended. I
knew that Doomer was failing, and of course
the time came when I had to tell him.
"'Mr. Doomer,' I said, 'All that I, all
that any medical skill can do for you, is done ;
you are going to die. I have to warn you that
it is time for other ministrations than mine.'
'Very good,' he said, faintly but firmly, 'send
for my broker.'
"They sent out and fetched Jarvis — you
know him I think ; most sjrmpathetic man and
yet most business-like ; he does all the firm's
business with the dying — and we two sat be-
side Doomer, holding him up while he signed
stock transfers and blank certificates.
"Once he paused and turned his eyes on
Jarvis. 'Read me from the text of the State
Inheritance Tax Statute,' he said. Jarvis
took the book and read aloud very quietly and
simply the part at the beginning, 'Whenever
and wheresoever it shall appear,' down to the
words, 'shall be no longer a subject of judg-
— 90 —
OUTLOOK OF MR. DOOMER
ment or appeal, but shall remain in perpetual
''Doomer listened with his eyes closed.
The reading seemed to bring him great com-
fort. When Jarvis ended he said with a sigh,
'That covers it. I'll put my faith in that.'
After that he was silent a moment and then
said, 'I wish I had already crossed the river.
Oh, to have already crossed the river and be
safe on the other side.' We knew what he
meant. He had always planned to move over
to New Jersey. The Inheritance Tax is so
much more liberal.
"Presently it was all done. 'There,' I said;
'it is finished now.' 'No,' he answered, 'there
is still one thing. Doctor, you've been very
good to me. I should like to pay your account
now without it being a charge on the estate.
I will pay it as' — he paused for a moment and
a fit of coughing seized him, but by an effort of
will he found the power to say — 'cash.'
"I took the account from my pocket (I had it
with me, fearing the worst) and we laid his
cheque-book before him on the bed. Jarvis,
thinking him too faint to write, tried to guide
his hand as he filled in the sum. But he shook
his head. 'The room is getting dim,' he said,
— 91 —
'I can see nothing but the figures.' 'Never
mind,' said Jarvis, much'moved,*that's enough.'
*Is it four hundred and thirty?' he asked
faintly. 'Yes,' I said, and I could feel the
tears rising in my eyes, 'and fifty cents.'
"After signing the cheque his mind wandered
for a moment and he fell to talking, with his
eyes closed, of the new federal banking law,
and of the prospect of the reserve associations
being able to maintain an adequate gold supply.
"Just at the last he rallied. 'I want,' he said,
in quite a firm voice, 'to do something for both
of you before I die.' 'Yes, yes,' we said. * You
are both interested, are you not?' he murmured,
'in City Traction?' 'Yes, yes,' we said. We
knew, of course, that he was the managing
"He looked at us faintly and tried to speak.
'Give him a cordial,' said Jarvis. But he found
his voice. 'The value of that stock,' he said,
'is going to take a sudden — ' His voice grew
faint. 'Yes, yes,' I whispered, bending over
him (there were tears in both our eyes), 'tell
me is it going up, or going down?' 'It is going,'
he murmured — then his eyes closed — 'it is
going — ' 'Yes, yes,' I said; 'which?' 'It is
going,' he repeated feebly, and then, quite
— 92 —
OUTLOOK OF MR. DOOMER
suddenly, he fell back on the pillows and his
soul passed. And we never knew which way
it was going. It was very sad. Later on, of
course, after he was dead, we knew, as every-
body knew, that it went down."
— Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy.
— 93 —
THE SORROWS OF A
THE SORROWS OF A SUMMER
ET me admit, as I start to
write, that the whole thing is
my own fault. I should never
have come. I knew better.
I have known better for years.
I have known that it is sheer
madness to go and pay visits in other people's
Yet in a moment of insanity I have let my-
self in for it and here I am. There is no hope,
no outlet now till the first of September, when
my visit is to terminate. Either that or death.
I do not greatly care which.
I write this, where no human eye can see
me, down by the pond — they call it the lake —
at the foot of Beverly-Jones' estate. It is
six o'clock in the morning. No one is up.
For a brief hour or so there is peace. But pre-
sently Miss Larkspur — the jolly English girl
who arrived last week — will throw open her
casement window and call across the lawn,
— 97 —
"Hullo! everybody! What a ripping morn-
ing!" And young Poppleton will call back in
a Swiss yodel from somewhere in the shrub-
bery, and Beverly-Jones will appear on the
piazza with big towels round his neck and
shout, "Who's coming for an early dip?"
And so the day's fun and jollity — heaven help
me — will begin again.
Presently they will all come trooping in to
breakfast, in colored blazers and fancy blouses,
laughing and grabbing at the food with mimic
rudeness and bursts of hilarity. And to think
that I might have been breakfasting at my club
with the morning paper propped against the
coffee-pot, in a silent room in the quiet of the
I repeat that it is my own fault that I am here.
For many years it had been a principle of
my life to visit nobody. I had long since
learned that visiting only brings misery. If I
got a card or telegram that said, "Won't you
run up to the Adirondacks and spend the week-
end with us?" I sent back word: "No, not
unless the Adirondacks can run faster than I
can," or words to that effect. If the owner of
a country house wrote to me: "Our man will
— 98 —
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
meet you with a trap any afternoon that you
care to name," I answered, m spuit at least:
"No, he won't, not unless he has a bear-trap or
one of those traps in which they catch wild
antelopes." If any fashionable lady friend
wrote to me in the peculiar jargon that they
use : "Can you give us from July the twelfth
at half-after-three till the fourteenth at four?"
I replied: "Madam, take the whole month,
take a year, but leave me in peace."
Such at least was the spirit of my answers to
invitations. In practice I used to find it suffi-
cient to send a telegram that read : "Crushed
with work; impossible to get away," and then
stroll back into the reading room of the club
and fall asleep again.
But my coming here was my own fault. It
resulted from one of those unhappy moments
of expansiveness such as occur, I imagine, to
everybody — moments when one appears to be
something quite different from what one really
is — when one feels oneself a thorough good
fellow, sociable, merry, appreciative, and finds
the people around one the same. Such moods
are known to all of us. Some people say that
it is the super-self asserting itself. . . .
— 99 —
That at any rate was the kmd of mood that
I was in when I met Beverly- Jones and when
he asked me here.
It was m the afternoon, at the club. As I
recall it, we were drinking cocktails and I was
thinking what a bright, genial fellow Beverly-
Jones was, and how completely I had mistaken
him. For myself— I admit it— I am a brighter,
better man after drinking two cocktails than at
any other tune — quicker, kindlier, more genial
—and higher, morally. I had been telling
stories in that inimitable way that one has after
two cocktails. In reality, I only know four
stories, and a fifth that I don't quite remember,
but in moments of expansiveness they feel like
a fund or flow.
It was under such circumstances that I sat
with Beverly-Jones. And it was in shaking
hands at leaving that he said: "I do wish,
old chap, that you could run up to our summer
place and give us the whole of August!" and I
answered, as I shook him warmly by the hand ;
"My dear fellow, I'd simply love to!" "By
gad, then, it's a go!" he said. "You must
come up for August, and wake us all up !"
Wake them up ! Ye gods ! Me wake them
— 100 —
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
One hour later I was repenting of my folly,
and wishing, when I thought of the two cock-
tails, that the prohibition wave could be hurried
up so as to leave us all high and dry — bone
dry, silent and unsociable.
Then I clung to the hope that Beverly- Jones
would forget. But no. In due time his wife
wrote to me. They were looking forward so
much, she said, to my visit; they felt — she
repeated her husband's ominous phrase —
that I should wake them all up !
What sort of alarm clock did they take me
Ah, well! They know better now. It was
only yesterday afternoon that Beverly-Jones
found me standing here in the gloom of some
cedar-trees beside the edge of the pond and
took me back so quietly to the house that I
realized he thought I meant to drown myself.
So I did.
I could have stood it better — my coming here
I mean — if they hadn't come down to the
station in a body to meet me in one of those
long vehicles with seats down the sides ; silly-
looking men in colored blazers and girls with
no hats, all making a hullabaloo of welcome.
"We are quite a small party," Mrs. Beverly-
— 101 —
Jones had written. Small! Great heavens,
what would they call a large one ? And even
those at the station turned out to be only half of
them. There were just as many more all lined
up on the piazza of the house as we drove up,
all waving a fool welcome with tennis rackets
and golf clubs.
Small party, indeed! Why, after six days
there are still some of the idiots whose names
I haven't got straight! That fool with the
fluffy moustache, which is he? And that jack-
ass that made the salad at the picnic yesterday
— is he the brother of the woman with the
guitar, or who ?
But what I mean is, there is something in
that sort of noisy welcome that puts me to the
bad at the start. It always does. A group of
strangers all laughing together, and with a set
of catchwords and jokes all their own, always
throws me into a fit of sadness, deeper than
words. I had thought, when Mrs. Beverly-
Jones said a small party, she really meant
small. I had had a mental picture of a few sad
people, greeting me very quietly and gently,
and of myself, quiet, too, but cheerful— some-
how lifting them up, with no great effort, by my
— 102 —
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
Somehow from the very first I could feel that
Beverly-Jones was disappointed in me. He
said nothing. But I knew it. On that first
afternoon, between my arrival and dinner he
took me about his place, to show it to me. I
wish that at some proper time I had learned
just what it is that you say when a man shows
you about his place. I never knew before how
deficient I am in it. I am all right to be shown
an iron-and-steel plant, or a soda-water factory
or anything really wonderful, but being shown
a house and grounds and trees, things that I
have seen all my life, leaves me absolutely
"These big gates," said Beverly- Jones, "we
only put up this year."
"Oh," I said. That was all. Why shouldn't
they put them up this year? I didn't care if
they'd put them up this year or a thousand
"We had quite a struggle," he continued,
"before we finally decided on sandstone."
"You did, eh?" I said. There seemed noth-
ing more to say; I didn't know what sort of a
struggle he meant, or who fought who; and
personally sandstone or soapstone or any other
stone is all the same to me.
— 103 —
"This lawn," said Beverly- Jones, "we laid
down the first year we were here." I an-
swered nothing. He looked me right in the
face as he said it and I looked straight back
at him, but I saw no reason to challenge his
"The geraniums along the border," he went
on, "are rather an experiment. They're
I looked fixedly at the geraniums but never
said a word. They were Dutch ; all right, why
not? They were an experiment. Very good ;
let them be so. I know nothing in particular
to say about a Dutch experiment.
I could feel that Beverly-Jones grew de-
pressed as he showed me round. I was sorry
for him, but unable to help. I reaUzed that
there were certain sections of my education
that had been neglected. How to be shown
things and make appropriate comments seems
to be an art in itself. I don't possess it. It is
not likely now, as I look at this pond, that I
Yet how simple a thing it seems when done
by others. I saw the difference at once the
very next day, the second day of my visit,
when Beverly-Jones took round young Pop-
— 104 —
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
pleton, the man that I mentioned above who
will presently give a Swiss yodel from a clump
of laurel bushes to indicate that the day's fun
Poppleton I had known before slightly. I
used to see him at the club. In club surround-
ings he always struck me as an ineffable young
ass, loud and talkative, and perpetually break-
ing the silence rules. Yet I have to admit that
in his summer flannels and with a straw hat on
he can do things that I can't.
"These big gates," began Beverly- Jones as
he showed Poppleton round the place, with me
trailing beside them, "we only put up this
Poppleton, who has a summer place of his
own, looked at the gates very critically.
"Now, do you know what Vd have done with
those gates, if they were mine?" he said.
"No," said Beverly-Jones.
"I'd have set them two feet wider apart;
they're too narrow, old chap, too narrow."
Poppleton shook his head sadly at the gates.
"We had quite a struggle," said Beverly-
Jones, "before we finally decided on sand-
I realized that he had one and the same line
— 105 —
of talk that he always used. I resented it.
No wonder it was easy for him.
"Great mistake," said Poppleton. "Too
soft. Look at this" — here he picked up a big
stone and began pounding at the gate post —
"see how easily it chips! Smashes right off.
Look at that, the whole corner knocks right
off ; see?"
Beverly- Jones entered no protest. I began
to see that there is a sort of understanding, a
kind of freemasonry, among men who have
summer places. One shows his things; the
other runs them down, and smashes them.
This makes the whole thing easy at once.
Beverly-Jones showed his lawn.
"Your turf is all wrong, old boy," said Pop-
pleton. "Look! it has no body to it. See, I
can kick holes in it with my heel. Look at
that, and that! If I had on stronger boots I
could kick this lawn all to pieces."
"These geraniums along the border," said
Beverly-Jones, "are rather an experiment.
"But my dear fellow," said Poppleton,
"you've got them set in wrongly. They ought
to slope from the sun you know, never to it.
Wait a bit" — here he picked up a spade that
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
was lying where a gardener had been working
— "I'll throw a few out. Notice how easily
they come up. Ah, that fellow broke! They're
apt to. There, I won't bother to reset them,
but tell your man to slope them over from the
sun. That's the idea."
Beverly-Jones showed his new boat-house
next and Poppleton knocked a hole in the side
with a hammer to show that the lumber was too
"If that were my boat-house," he said, "I'd
rip the outside clean off it and use shingle and
It was, I noticed, Poppleton's plan first to
imagine Beverly-Jones' things his own, and
then to smash them, and then give them back
smashed to Beverly-Jones. This seemed to
please them both. Apparently it is a well-
understood method of entertaining a guest and
being entertained. Beverly- Jones and Popple-
ton, after an hour or so of it, were delighted
with one another.
Yet somehow, when I tried it myself, it failed
"Do you know what I would do with that
cedar summer-house if it was mine?" I asked
my host the next day.
— 107 —
"No," he said.
"I'd knock the thmg down and burn it," I
But I think I must have said it too fiercely.
Beverly- Jones looked hurt and said nothing.
Not that these people are not doing all they
can for me. I know that. I admit it. If I
should meet my end here and if— to put the
thing straight out— my lifeless body is found
floating on the surface of this pond, I should
like there to be documentary evidence of that
much. They are trying their best. "This is
Liberty Hall," Mrs. Beverly-Jones said to me
on the first day of my visit : "We want you to
feel that you are to do absolutely as you like !"
Absolutely as I like ! How little they know
me. I should like to have answered : "Madam,
I have now reached a time of life when human
society at breakfast is impossible to me ; when
any conversation prior to eleven a.m. must be
considered out of the question ; when I prefer to
eat my meals in quiet, or with only such mild
hilarity as can be got from a comic paper ; when
I can no longer wear nankeen pants and a col-
oured blazer without a sense of personal indig-
nity ; when I can no longer leap and play in the
— 108 —
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
water like a young fish ; when I do not yodel,
cannot sing, and, to my regret, dance even
worse than I did when young; and when the
mood of mirth and hilarity comes to me only
as a rare visitant — shall we say at a burlesque
performance — and never as a daily part of my
existence. Madam, I am unfit to be a summer
guest. If this is Liberty Hall indeed, let me,
oh, let me go!"
Such is the speech that I would make if it
were possible. As it is, I can only rehearse
it to myself.
Indeed, the more I analyze it the more
impossible it seems, for a man of my tempera-
ment at any rate, to be a summer guest.
These people, and, I imagine, all other summer
people, seem to be trying to live in a perpetual
joke. Everything, all day, has to be taken in
a mood of uproarious fun.
However, I can speak of it all now in quiet
retrospect and without bitterness. It will
soon be over now. Indeed, the reason why I
have come down at this early hour to this
quiet water is that things have reached a crisis.
The situation has become extreme and I must
— 109 —
It happened last night. Beverly- Jones took
me aside while the others were dancing the
fox-trot to the victrola on the piazza.
"We're planning to have some rather good
fun to-morrow night," he said — "something
that will be a good deal more in your line than
a lot of it, I'm afraid has been up here. In
fact, my wife says that this will be the very
thing for you."
"Oh," I said.
"We're going to get all the people from the
other houses over, and the girls — " this term
Beverly- Jones uses to mean his wife and her
friends — "are going to get up a sort of enter-
tainment with charades and things, all im-
promptu, more or less, of course — "
"Oh," I said. I saw already what was coming.
"And they want you to act as a sort of
master-of-ceremonies, to make up the gags
and introduce the different stunts and all that.
I was telling the girls about that afternoon at
the club, when you were simply killing us all
with those funny stories of yours, and they're
all wild over it."
"Wild?" I repeated.
"Yes, quite wild over it. They say it will be
the hit of the summer."
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
Beverly-Jones shook hands with great
warmth as we parted for the night. I knew
that he was thinking that my character was
about to be triumphantly vindicated, and that
he was glad for my sake.
Last night I did not sleep. I remained awake
all night thinking of the "entertainment."
In my whole life I have done nothing in public
except once when I presented a walking-stick
to the vice-president of our club on the occasion
of his taking a trip to Europe. Even for that I
used to rehearse to myself far into the night
sentences that began: "This walking-stick,
gentlemen, means far more than a mere walk-
And now they expect me to come out as a
merry master-of-ceremonies before an assem-
bled crowd of summer guests.
But never mind. It is nearly over now.
I have come down to this quiet water in the
early morning to throw myself in. They will
find me floating here among the lilies Some
few will understand. I can see it written, as
it will be, in the newspapers.
"What makes the sad fataUty doubly poig-
nant is that the unhappy victim had just en-
tered upon a hoUday visit that was to have been
— 111 —
prolonged throughout the whole month. Need-
less to say, he was regarded as the life and soul
of the pleasant party of holiday makers that had
gathered at the delightful country home of Mr.
and Mrs. Beverly- Jones. Indeed, on the very
day of the tragedy, he was to have taken a
leading part in staging a merry performance of
charades and parlor entertainments — a thing
for which his genial talents and overflowing
high spirits rendered him specially fit."
When they read that, tliose who know me
best will understand how and why I died.
"He had still over three weeks to stay there,"
they will say. "He was to act as the stage
manager of charades." They will shake
their heads. They will understand.
But what is this? I raise my eyes from the
paper and I see Beverly- Jones hurriedly ap-
proaching from the house. He is hastily
dressed, with flannel trousers and a dressing
gown. His face looks grave. Something has
happened. Thank God, something has
happened. Some accident! Some tragedy!
Something to prevent the charades!
I write these few lines on a fast train that is
carrying me back to New York, a cool, com-
— 112 —
SORROWS OF A SUMMER GUEST
fortable train, with a deserted club-car where
I can sit in a leather arm-chair, with my feet
up on another, smoking, silent and at peace.
Villages, farms and summer places are
flying by. Let them fly. I, too, am flying —
back to the rest and quiet of the city.
"Old man," Beverly-Jones said, as he laid
his hand on mine very kindly — he is a decent
fellow, after all, is Jones— "they're calling you
by long-distance from New York."
"What is it?" I asked, or tried to gasp.
"It's bad news, old chap ; fire in your office
last evening. I'm afraid a lot of your private
papers were burned. Robinson — that's your
senior clerk, isn't it? — seems to have been on
the spot trying to save things. He's badly
singed about the face and hands. I'm afraid
you must go at once."
"Yes, yes," I said, "at once."
"I know. I've told the man to get the trap
ready right away. You've just time to catch
the seven-ten. Come along."
"Right," I said. I kept my face as well as
I could, trying to hide my exultation! The
office burnt ! Fine ! Robinson singed ! Glori-
ous ! I hurriedly packed my things and whis-
pered to Beverly- Jones farewell messages for
— 113 —
the sleeping household. I never felt so jolly
and facetious in my life. I could feel that Bev-
erly-Jones was admiring the spirit and pluck
with which I took my misfortune. Later on
he would tell them all about it.
The trap ready! Hurrah! Goodbye,
old man ! Hurrah ! All right. I'll telegraph.
Right you are, good-bye. Hip, hip, hurrah!
Here we are! Train right on time. Just
these two bags, porter, and there's a dollar
for you. What merry, merry fellows these
darky porters are, anyway!
And so here I am in the train, safe bound for
home and the summer quiet of my club.
Well done for Robinson ! I was afraid that
it had missed fire, or that my message to him
had gone wrong. It was on the second day of
my visit that I sent word to him to invent an
accident — something, anything — to call me
back. I thought the message had failed. I
had lost hope. But it is all right now, though
he certainly pitched the note pretty high.
Of course I can't let the Beverly-Joneses
know that it was a put-up job. I must set fire
to the office as soon as I get back. But it's
worth it. And I'll have to singe Robinson about
the face and hands. But it's worth that too !
— Frenzied Fiction
— 114 —
O my mind these unthinking
judgments about our great
college do harm, and I deter-
mined, therefore, that any-
thing that I said about Oxford
should be the result of the
actual observation and real study based upon
a bona fide residence in the Mitre Hotel.
On the strength of this basis of experience
I am prepared to make the following positive
and emphatic statements. Oxford is a noble
university. It has a great past. It is at pre-
sent the greatest university in the world : and
it is quite possible that it has a great future.
Oxford trains scholars of the real type better
than any other place in the world. Its methods
are antiquated. It despises science. Its
lectures are rotten. It has professors who
never teach and students who never learn. It
has no order, no arrangement, no system. Its
curriculum is unintelligible. It has no presi-
dent. It has no state legislature to tell it how
— 117 —
to teach, and yet — it gets there. Whether we
like it or not, Oxford gives something to its
students, a life and a mode of thought, which
in America, as yet, we can emulate, but not
The lack of building fund necessitates the
Oxford students living in the identical old
boarding-houses they had in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. Technically they are
called "quadrangles," "closes," and "rooms";
but I am so broken in to the usage of my stu-
dent days that I can't help calling them board-
ing houses. In many of these the old stairway
has been worn down by the generations of stu-
dents; the windows have little latticed panes;
there are old names carved here and there
upon the stone, and a thick growth of ivy covers
the walls. The boarding-house at St. John's
College dates from 1509, the one at Christ
Church from the same period. A few hun-
dred thousand pounds would suffice to replace
these old buildings with neat steel and brick
structures, like the normal school at Sche-
nectady, N.Y., or the Peel Street High School
in Montreal. But nothing is done. A move-
ment was indeed attempted last autumn to-
— 118 —
wards removing the ivy from the walls, but
the result was unsatisfactory and they are
putting it back. Any one could have told them
beforehand that the mere removal of the ivy
would not brighten Oxford up, unless at the
same time one cleared the stones of the old
inscriptions, put in steel fire-escapes, and in
fact brought the boarding houses up to date.
The effect of the comparison is heightened
by the peculiar position occupied at Oxford
by the professors' lectures. In the colleges of
Canada and the United States the lectures are
supposed to be a really necessary and useful
part of the students' training. Again and
again I have heard the graduates of my own
college assert that they had got as much, or
nearly as much, out of the lectures at college
as out of athletics or the Greek letter society
or the Banjo and Mandolin Club. In short,
with us the lectures form a real part of the
college life. At Oxford it is not so. The lec-
tures, I understand, are given, and may even
be taken, but they are quite worthless and
are not supposed to have anything much to do
with the development of the student's minds.
— 119 —
"The lectures here," said a Canadian student
to me, "are punk." I appealed to another
student to know if this was so. "I don't know
whether I'd call them exactly punk," he an-
swered, "but they're certainly rotten." Other
judgments were that the lectures were of no
importance : that nobody took them : that they
don't matter : that you can take them if you like :
that they do you no harm.
It appears further that the professors them-
selves are not keen on their lectures. If the
lectures are called for they give them; if not,
the professor's feehngs are not hurt. He
merely waits and rests his brain until in some
later year the students call for his lectures.
There are men at Oxford who have rested their
brains this way for over thirty years. The
accumulated brain power thus dammed up is
said to be colossal.
I understand that the key to this mystery is
found in the operations of the person called
the tutor. It is from him, or rather with him,
that the students learn all that they know:
one and all are agreed on that. Yet it is a
little odd to know just how he does it. "We
go over to his rooms," said one student, "and
he just lights a pipe and talks to us." "We
— 120 —
sit round with him," said another, "and he
simply smokes and goes over our exercises
with us." From this and other evidence I
gather that what an Oxford tutor does is to get
a Uttle group of students together and smoke at
them. Men who have been systematically
smoked at for four years turn into ripe scholars.
If anybody doubts this, let him go to Oxford
and he can see the thing actually in operation.
A well-smoked man speaks and writes Eng-
lish with a grace that can be acquired in no other
Now, the principal reason why I am led to ad-
mire Oxford is that the place is little touched
as yet by the measuring of "results," and by
this passion for visible and provable "effi-
ciency." The whole system at Oxford is such
as to put a premium on genius and to let medio-
crity and dulness go their way. On the dull
student, Oxford, after a proper lapse of time,
confers a degree which means nothing more
than that he lived and breathed at Oxford and
kept out of jail. This for many students is as
much as society can expect. But for the gifted
student Oxford offers great opportunities.
There is no question of his hanging back tiU
— 121 —
the last sheep has jumped over the fence. He
need wait for no one. He may move forward
as fast as he Ukes, following the bent of his
genius. If he has in him any ability beyond
that of the common herd, his tutor, interested
in his studies, will smoke at him until he kin-
dles him into a flame. For the tutor's soul is
not harassed by herding dull students, with
dismissal hanging by a thread over his head in
the class room. The American professor has no
time to be interested in a clever student. He
has time to be interested in his "deportment,"
his letter-writing, his executive work, and his
organizing ability and his hope of promotion to
a soap factory. But with that his mind is ex-
hausted. The student of genius merely means
to him a student who gives no trouble, who
passes all his "tests," and is present at all his
"recitations." Such a student also, if he can
be trained to be a hustler and an advertiser,
will undoubtedly "make good." But beyond
that the professor does not think of him. The
everlasting principle of equaUty has inserted
itself in a place where it has no right to be, and
where inequality is the breath of life.
Viewing the situation as a whole, I am led
then to the conclusion that there must be
— 122 —
something in the life of Oxford itself that
makes for higher learning. Smoked at by his
tutor, fed in Henry VIII 's kitchen, and sleep-
ing in a tangle of ivy, the student evidently
gets something not easily obtained in America.
And the more I reflect on the matter the more
I am convinced that it is the sleeping in the
ivy that does it. How different it is from
student life as I remember it !
— My Discovery of England.
O you remember Col. Hogs-
head in the "Literary Lapses?"
He claimed that there was a
character called Saloonio in
the "Merchant of Venice,"
though no one else had ever
heard of him. He was "the man who came on
the stage all the time and sort of put things
Well, I am in much the same case as Col.
Hogshead. In preparing to write this paper
I have read everything I could find about
Stephen Leacock. But no one else seems to
have seen the Stephen Leacock who has had
a place of honor in my gallery of favorites for
over thirty years. Of course I find him in the
books and, Hke Saloonio, he is on the stage all
the time — or at least very often — and sort
of puts things through. Worst of all, he
doesn't look a bit like the published portraits of
Leacock, and I couldn't imagine him making
one of those brilliant after-dinner speeches
— 127 —
that I see reported in the papers from time to
time. But to me he is the real Stephen Lea-
cock, and no learned doctor, nor professor of
political economy, nor brilliant author, nor
lecturer who can make even old England laugh,
can make me give him up. You may not be
able to find him in the books, even after I de-
scribe him to you, but for me he is there all the
time, * 'concealed behind the arras or feasting
with the doge."
The reviewer who said that Mr. Leacock's
work received instant recognition and appre-
ciation fell short of the truth. His humour was
current among the students of Toronto Univer-
sity even before he began to write. The first
example of it that was repeated to me by one of
his youthful admirers has never been pub-
lished, but it is still as fresh to me as his lat-
est production. It was a burlesque account of
Noah building the Ark, that he used to give for
the amusement of his immediate circle of
friends. Noah, with his mouth full of nails,
was issuing orders to Shem, Ham, and Japhet
about bringing in the animals. They had a lot
of trouble getting the hippopotamus out of the
river and, meanwhile, the neighbors stood
around and guyed Noah. They didn't think
— 128 —
it was going to be more than a shower anjrway.
And Noah hit his thumb with the hammer
while trying to drive a nail. And so on, and so
on. You can imagine what Leacock could do
with such a theme.
Then came the first published article, "A,
B, and C." From that moment Stephen
Leacock was what he has continued to be ever
since. He was the humorist of youth, and in
spite of later lapses into humor for sophisti-
cated grown-ups he will always continue to be
the humorist of youth. "A, B, and C" capti-
vates every school-boy and school-girl at once.
Charles Lamb and Mark Twain may be beyond
their grasp, but to find the mathematical sjmi-
bols that they use every day given life and per-
sonality brings a sudden hilarity into the
routine of school life.
It was shortly after the publication of this
sketch that I had my one and only glimpse of
Stephen Leacock in the flesh. I had reached
the last hour of a visit to Toronto when a friend
told me that Leacock was having a game of bil-
liards in a near-by biUiard parlor, and offered to
introduce me. When we reached the bilUard
room the game was over and I carried away a
mental picture of a slender young man putting
— 129 —
away a billiard cue and looking at me over his
shoulder. The interview did not last for
more than five minutes, and I do not remember
a word that was said. I have never been able
to decide whether the impression he made was
of being shy or of being stand-offish. Any-
way, we didn't get very far in our interview.
And he didn't look a bit like the pictures of
him that appear so often in the papers. But
that quiet, youthful Stephen Leacock has come
down the years with me and persists in walking
before me on every page he publishes.
His next pubUshed article was "My Finan-
cial Career," and I am willing to contend — if
necessary, with "grinded lances" — that no
grown-up person ever fully appreciated the
abundant humor of that httle masterpiece.
It is an outburst of reckless, effervescent
youth that only the young can enter into fully.
Of course, if you read it first when you were
young, its full humor may have remained with
you, but no person of mature age, reading it
for the first time, can appreciate its joyous
insolence. Just think of it ! He has dared to
be merry with a bank. What awful blasphemy !
To the grown up man a bank is a combination
of a temple and a tomb. It is the holy of
— 130 —
holies of that which he worships and serves
every hour of his life. And his chief tragedies
are connected with it. Overdrafts, "equitably
rationed credit," and "selective curtailment"
have made the bank a charnel of dead hopes.
How many of his dreams of avarice have been
shattered by the refusal of an unfeeling banker
to extend the necessary credit. No! No!
You cannot expect a grown-up man to indulge
in care-free laughter at "My Financial Career."
I am in a position to back up my opinion on
this point. For some years past I have been
using "My Financial Career" as a reading on
the public platform and have watched its effect
on many audiences. The young are always
the first to laugh and the last to stop laughing.
The mature join in of course, but to even the
most successful men a bank recalls unpleasant
moments. And if there happens to be a
banker in the audience the older people look
towards him and sober up at once. I have
known even a branch bank manager — a man no
more impressive than Peter Pumpkin — to check
the enjoyment of all the mature people in an
audience. But the young just let themselves
go. Most of them have run a message to a
bank or have been inside of one, and they have
— 131 —
experienced the same feelings that Leacock
expresses so poignantly. They do not realize
that their future in life may depend on the
smiles of a banker, and they let themselves
go, no matter who may be offended.
It has always seemed to me that "My Finan-
cial Career" could have been written only by
a young man who was exquisitely sensitive.
Contact with the inexplicable grown-up world
made him feel shy and awkward, and perhaps
it hurt a little. In self-defence he turned it all
to ridicule — just to bluff the young people of his
own age. He was like a boy taking a dare to
throw a snowball at the schoolmaster or the
minister. He would let his contemporaries see
that even a bank couldn't overawe him. And
in all his later deaUngs with club-men and the
idle rich there is a touch of the same bravado.
I doubt if either the student or the professor has
been wholly at ease with the solid citizens and
solid institutions of the world. And he gets
back at them by having a joke at their expense.
The same solemn boy (wearing a grey suit by
the way) who walked through the awful adven-
tures in the bank, now walks through the Mau-
soleum Club and glares defiantly at Mr.
Doomer and the other worthies of High
— 132 —
Finance. (Oh, I know all about that "in-
fectious smile," but the boy is there just
the same, "behind the arras.") The same
sensitiveness sharpens his powers of obser-
vation, and he turns them all to ridicule— not
for the boys of his own generation, but of this
generation, and for all generations of boys to
come. He is youth making laughter for youth, >
and the laughter will continue while the young
are shy and awkward and sensitive.
Although scholarship and experience of life
have given him a wider range of themes than
when he wrote "My Financial Career" his art
is the same. He has never dealt much in epi-
grams and "lapidary phrases." With indivi-
dual and inimitable skill he takes ordinary
incidents and by the use of ordinary language
—though of unusual clarity— he builds up situa-
tion after situation that is electrical with laugh-
ter. For sheer audacity of irresponsible fun-
making some of his httle sketches are unique.
They have a spontaniety that is not surpassed
even in the poems of Calverly.
A careful reading of Mr. Leacock's works
with a view to discovering the man back of.,
them, is an exhilarating, but somewhat bewil-
dering task. He has expressed opinions on every
— 133 —
conceivable subject, and has expressed them
with impetuous vigor. Usually his dominant
^note is one of rebellion.
,, "The rewards and punishments in the une-
' qual and ill-adjusted world in which we live are
most unfair." His comments are at all times
penetrating. But he seldom offers a solution
^ of any of the problems he scornfully analyzes.
Why should he? Others have been offering
solutions down through the centuries and
piling fooUshness on fooUshness. The great
^fact to be gathered from all this is that the
contacts of life have not made him callous.
His sympathy with all human hurts and needs
is never failing. He rages at the impossibi-
lity of setting things right and then finds re-
fuge in his marvellous gift of laughter. If he
V cannot help us, he can make us laugh and for-
get. Possibly he finds forgetfulness himself
in his outbursts of fun-making. In any case,
it is something to be thankful for that his fun
is without malice. It is an anodyne for the
miseries that he cannot correct. To laugh with
him in his gay moods is to be refreshed for the
battle of life — to share in his high spirits. And
if, after laughing with him, the world goes back
to its cares and thinks of him only as a fri-
— 134 —
volous entertainer, who deserves attention only
in idle hours, it is only making the same mis-
take it has always made in dealing with those
who bring good gifts and enrich life. He has
equipped himself as a scholar and thinker to
deal gravely with the gravest problems —
but all that his ever-increasing following sees
is the sparkle of his wit and the antic nunble-
ness with which he turns life's hypocrisies
and stupidities to laughter. Surely it is
excusable if he has moments of cynicism and
bitterness. The more he is acclaimed for his ^
humor the more he must feel the futility of
things. It was after his fame had been estab-
lished that he wrote:
"An acquired indifference to the ills of others
is the price at which we live. A certain dole
of sympathy, a casual mite of personal relief,
is the mere drop that any one of us alone can
cast into the vast ocean of human misery.
Beyond that we must harden ourselves lest we,
too, perish. We feed well while others starve.
We make fast the doors of our lighted houses
against the indigent and hungry. What else
can we do? If we shelter one, what is that?
If we try to shelter all, we are ourselves shelter-
— 135 —
Mr. Leacock's most ambitious book is the
series of "Sunshine Sketches" that reveal the
town of Mariposa and its typical inhabitants.
In commenting on it himself he points out all
the faults that could be pointed out by the
most censorious critic.
"I wrote this book with considerable diffi-
culty. I can invent characters quite easily,
but I have no notion as to how to make things
happen to them. Indeed I see no reason
why anything should. I could write awfully
good short stories if it were only permissible
merely to introduce some extremely original
character, and at the end of two pages an-
nounce that at this point a brick fell on his head
and killed him. If there were room for a
school of literature of this kind I should offer
to lead it. I do not mean that the hero would
always and necessarily be killed by a brick.
One might sometimes use two. Such feeble
plots as there are in this book were invented
by brute force, after the characters had been
introduced. Hence the atrocious clumsi-
ness of the construction all through."
As a story, ''Sunshine Sketches" has no
plot. Very well. After reading it, we pre-
fer our novels that way. The reader is satis-
— 136 —
fied, even though nothing happens. It has no
suspended interest. True, but it has a sus-
tained chuckle that keeps us going from page k
to page without any thought of skipping or
stopping. And often the fun of the book bub-
bles over in hilarious nonsense, as when Mr.
Bagshaw, on his return from Ottawa, "Went
into Callahan's tobacco store and bought two
ten cent cigars and took them across the
street and gave them to Mallory Tompkins of
the Times-Herald as a present from the
The characters are such as you would find
in any small town, and the things they say and
do and think in the book are the things they
are saying and doing and thinking in a thou-
sand small towns to-day. But in real life we
have no chuckling master of ceremonies to
bring them out and show their weaknesses and
absurdities — and human decency. The people
of Mariposa are revealed in another sunshine
than that of the every-day sun— the sunshine
of a spirit that is wise and tolerant and amused.
He reveals the law-breaking and cunning of
Josh Smith — now legally extinct — as ruth-
lessly as if he were an investigator of the muck-
— 137 —
raking period, yet makes the fat rascal so
human and deep-read in human frailty that
we know he must be descended from a younger
scion of the Falstaff family who adventured to
the New World in the days of Elizabeth or
James. The prohibition wave may have
swept the saloon from existence, but it breaks
in vain against the colossal figure of "JOS.
SMITH, PROP." And it is doubtful if the
waves of time will submerge him any more
than the prohibition wave.
There is not a character in this book that is
not in place in a New World small town, and
nothing happens that would not happen in any
other small town. Only a touch of literary
gloom would be needed to make this picture
of contemporary life as sordid and mean and
futile as any to be found in the most depress-
ing "best seller." But the sunshine in which
it is revealed has transfigured it. And the
sunshine never fails. Judge Pepperleigh and
Dean Drone and Henry MuUins, and all the
rest of them, move through the years, aureoled
in kindly light and laughter. The art of "Sun-
shine Sketches" successfully blends the keen
^ Pres ervation of the realist with the glamour of
— 138 — '
the idealist. Whether the book ranks as a
classic time alone can tell, but for the present
it is very satisfying.
"Nonsense Novels," whose success es-
tabUshed Stephen Leacock's fame, deserve
attention for a number of reasons. He ridi-
culed the best sellers — and in doing so pro-
duced a best seller. But these Httle novels are
sheer fun from start to finish. It is not as
parodies on current fiction that they excel.
Their chief merit Hes in the opportunity they
gave Mr. Leacock to give full scope to his*
genius for attractive nonsense. More than
an5rthing else they are just what he has named
them— "Nonsense Novels." They can be
enjoyed even by those who know nothing of
the types of novels they start out to parody.
Every character and every incident gives the
humorist a chance to bubble over with delight-
fully inconsequent nonsense. If Hazlitt could
have seen this book he would have devoted a
special essay to it. He claimed that non-
sense is an essentially EngHsh form of fun that
is unknown to other people.
"I flatter myself that we are ahnost the only
people who understand and relish nonsense.
— 139 —
We are not 'merry and wise,' but indulge our
mirth to excess and folly. When we trifle we
trifle in good earnest; and, having once re-
laxed our hold of the helm, drift idly down the
stream, and, delighted with the change, are
tossed about by every little breath of whim
" 'That under Heaven is blown,'
All we want is to proclaim a truce with reason,
and to be pleased with as little expense of
thought or pretension to wisdom as possible."
Of this nonsense which Hazlitt admired,
Stephen Leacock is a master — and also he is
almost its slave. Whether writing burlesque,
or satire, or humor or even pathos, he must
stop every little while to indulge in an out-
burst of nonsense. That Mr. Leacock agrees
with Hazlitt is shown by his admiration for
"Alice in Wonderland" — that world master-
piece of nonsense. But his own nonsense in
its way is just as masterly as that of Lewis
Carrol, and even more mirth-provoking. It
may not have the poetic whimsicality of "Alice
in Wonderland," but it is just as unexpected
and even more lavish.
As a single book "Nonsense Novels" does
— 140 —
not deserve a word of censure, but as a tiuning
point in the development of Mr. Leacock's
art it raises a doubt. Since its appearance the
pubUc has demanded more nonsense novels,
and the pubUshers have tried to make it ap-
pear that all his later work has been of the same
class. This is not true. He has allowed him-
self a wide range, which embraces pathos as
well as nonsense, but pubhshers, critics and
readers have seemingly conspired to make
believe that all his productions are nonsense
sketches. Of course the same care-free non-
sense appears in the later books and perhaps
dominates them, but not to the exclusion of
other forms of humor with which he made us
familiar in his earHer books. The aggrieved
boy still appears, full of fierce but funny indig-
nation — as when Melpomenus Jones exclaimed
with hollow, despairing laughter :
"Another cup of tea and more photographs!
More photographs! Har! Har!"
When he appears in the last book he is just
as aggrieved and indignant and funny as ever.
The chairman at one of the lectures had an-
"This year we are starting a new line, and
— 141 —
trying the experiment of cheaper talent."
"Let anybody who knows the discomfiture
of coming out before an audience on any terms,
judge how it feels to crawl out in front of them
labelled as cheaper talent."
The satirical master of ceremonies is there
also and gives us such comments as this :
"The Rasselyer-Brown residence was the
kind of cultivated home where people of educa-
tion and taste are at liberty to talk about things
they don't know and utter freely ideas they
If Mr. Leacock's later books were as adver-
tised and popularly acclaimed they would be
mere imitations of "Nonsense Novels," but
fortunately he has not allowed himself to be
submerged by his first success. There are ele-
ments of even greater success in other phases
of his humor. Many of his sincerest admirers
wish that his work had developed along the
line of "Sunshine Sketches" rather than on
the line of "Nonsense Novels."
Like every one else, I have read Mr. Lea-
cock's writings as they have appeared in peri-
odicals and from time to time in books, but
never with the purpose of appraising his powers
— 142 —
and achievements. Now that I have re-read
his books I am forced to a number of conclu-
sions. To begin with, I cannot confine my
mental picture of him to the shy and sensitive
boy. I must admit that he has somehow de-
veloped into a man with a competent chuckle,
who laughs at things, not because they hurt,
but because he knows them and sees through
their solemn pretentiousness. Then this man
is sometimes aroused to indignant scorn and
phes a satiric lash, that is none the less lacerat-
ing because it is light. Sometimes, for he is
human, he blunders into something like
peevishness and might almost be accused of
scolding. But in every book, and in almost
every article, I still find flashes of the boy, and
am glad. I do not want to give him up, for that
would mean giving up one of the last outposts
of my own youth. To laugh with Leacock in
his boyish moods is still to be in one's twenties,
and is very precious.
So much has been said about Leacock as a
satirist that a word of consideration is indicated.
Somehow I cannot class him with the great
satirists. Although he has decided satirical
power, it is slight compared with his genius
— 143 —
as a fun-maker. I should never think of apply-
ing to him the quotation from Milton that Hugh
Miller applied to Voltaire:
"I forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms.
Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint.
Save He who reigns above, none can resist."
It is true that his ridicule can provoke laugh-
ter at many things that deserve the lash of
satire, but it is not the laughter that one
associates with the great masters of the lash.
The subtle malignity of Swift, the delicate,
brilliant savagery of Pope, and the indignant
scorn of Dryden, are nowhere in evidence.
Mr. Leacock's lively mockery does not voice
the rancours of his time. While his treatment
of enemy statesmen, generals and rulers, for
instance, moves us to laughter, the average
man will prefer to leave the Hohenzollerns and
Hapsburgs and their retinues to the fierce in-
vective of Henry Watterson and of others who
are skilled in expressing the unprintable opin-
ions of their fellow men. The ordinary reader
is not satisfied to see these great ofifenders
tapped with a bauble. He wants someone to go
after them with an axe. Mr. Leacock lacks
— 144 —
the cold ferocity of the master satirist. And
it is a good thing that he does. In spite of
Pope's boast that those who are : —
"Safe from the pulpit, bar and throne
Are touched and shamed by ridicule alone,"
it is doubtful if the satirists ever accomplished
much for the good of mankind. When the
woi'ld is ready to dismiss any man or institu-
tion with contemptuous laughter, it is as likely
to seize on some accidental phrase or some
unmeaning "Lillubulero," as on a prepared
satirical masterpiece. It is quite true that on
many occasions Mr. Leacock has essayed the
role of a satirist with undeniable skill, but he ^
finds it hard to hold the part. He often lapses
into joyous and irrelevant nonsense, or pours
out his indignation in every-day wrath, as when
he ended his satire on "Night Life in Paris"
with the comment : —
"Nothing is too damn silly for people to pay
money to go to see."
Mr. Leacock need not mind if one admirer —
for I make no pretense of speaking for any
one but myself — does not join in the chorus
of praise that has greeted his satire. All
satire is much overrated, and its value to
— 145 —
humanity is doubtful. It gives expression to
emotions that should not be cultivated. But
wholesome laughter, such as he has evoked so
freely, has a tonic effect, and we cannot be too
grateful to him for his contributions to the
bewildered sanity of the trying period through
which we have passed.
Though the war affected the writings of Mr.
Leacock, as it did the writings of all who came
through that terrible experience, it is not in his
humorous and satirical books pubUshed during
the war and after that his real thought is
revealed. Moved to the depth of his soul by
the problems developed by the conflict, he
dropped his role of jester for democracy, threw
aside the cumbrous instruments of the political
economist, and revealed himself as a man
keenly alive to human needs. "The Unsolved
Riddle of Social Justice" is the truest expres-
sion of himself that he has given. And, more-
over, it is one of the most serious and purpose-
ful books published since the war.
"But it is serious!" protests the average
admirer of Leacock.
Quite true. But unless you can appreciate
this book to the full you have never caught
a glimpse of the man who has been amusing
— 146 —
you. Unless you can enter into the spirit of
this book you have missed the pathos that
underlies so much of his humorous work. .
"Pathos ! Stephen Leacock writing pathos !"
I can hear a chorus of laughers exclaiming.
What is the story of the "Little Girl in Green"
that is tucked away in the burlesque narrative
of Peter Spillikins but a httle masterpiece of
pathos ? And Peter Spillikins himself — enthu-
siastic, clean-minded, futile, innocent— who is
vamped because of his wealth, is almost a
tragic figure. And he is presented in an at-
mosphere of burlesque. Because of the wide
range of his observation and sympathy, Mr.
Leacock is one of the best interpreters of con-
ditions in the United States and Canada.
In his writings the sordidness of things is not
made repulsive. It is pathetic. Even his
wildest burlesqueing and most boisterous
laughter has an undertone of pathos. The
impossible aspirations of Mrs. Rasselyer-
Brown are absurd and laughable — and piti-
ful. The mocker sees through them so clearly
that one could weep for them. These things
all hurt— and he covers the hurt with laughter.
Take the case of Mrs. Rasselyer-Brown.
— 147 —
Her name is burlesque and her friends are
all burlesque characters. The people of an
old and aristocratic civilization no doubt find
her very amusing. The strivings of such peo-
ple are favorite jests with the comic papers.
But if you read the chapters in which she
appears with any appreciation, you will feel that
the crude yearnings for culture, and the follies
and swindlings to which they lead, are fully as
pitiful as they are laughable. In the same
story, the suddenly wealthy farmer, Tom-
linson, and his vague wife and their immature
son, are portrayed with a pathos that has not
a false note. The real laughter in "The Wiz-
ard of Finance," and its sequel, "The Arrested
Philanthropy of Mr. Tomlinson," is all directed
against the greed and hypocrisy of the finan-
ciers and bunkum educationists and parasites
who always fasten themselves on financial
success. Their greed makes them just as
blind as the simplest "come-on" who ever
listened to the glozings of the gold-brick artist.
Mr. Leacock gives us plenty of fun and satire
directed at the shams of the world, but his
mockery does not glance at the innocent. If
they blunder into laughable foolishness, the
— 148 —
pathos of their simplicity is not overlooked.
When you have once glimpsed the man back of
the fun and fooling, you will reaHze that only
the man capable of writing "Social Justice"
could possibly have written any of scores of his
most-applauded and laughed-at sketches. We
needed this passionately earnest book to re-
veal the true man to us.
Although Mr. Leacock has written exten-
sively on political economy and occupies a posi-
tion of authority as an instructor in that science,
it is not proposed in this essay to follow him —
to quote his own phrase — "into the jungle of
pure economic reasoning." He confesses that
he is "well and wearily familiar" with this
science, and reveals his opinion of its pre-
sent status in a sentence : —
"When I sit and warm my hands, as best I
may, at the little heap of embers that is now
political economy, I cannot but contrast its
dying glow with the generous blaze of the
vainglorious and triumphant science that it
But though I find it convenient to quote him
in my own defence when I wish to put by his
serious work and confine the present essay
— 149 —
to his popular successes, it would not do to fol-
low this method too far. In his various essays
and books he has dealt with almost every phase
of his own work that a critic might be disposed
to consider. It might be shown that even this
essay is an impertinence, for he concludes his
essay on American humor with this paragraph :
"One is tempted in such an essay as the
present to conclude with a discussion of the
writers of the immediate moment. But dis-
cretion forbids. Criticism is only of value
where the lapse of a certain time lends per-
spective to the view. Of the brilliance and
promise of a number of the younger humorists
of to-day there can be no doubt. But it is
difficult to appraise their work and to dis-
tinguish among the mass of transitory effects
the elements of abiding value."
Mr. Leacock's stand on such controversial
subjects as prohibition and public ownership
*' have attracted so much attention that one can-
not help at least mentioning them. The roar
of anger that has risen against him all bears
the burden that he is a professor and a humor-
ist, and consequently is not qualiied to dis-
cuss matters so profound and practical. The
best reply to this attitude that occurs to me is
a quotation from his own essay on Charles II.
"The man of real enlightenment is inevit-
ably reckoned a trifler and is accused of shal-
lowness and insincerity, while a dull man,
heavily digesting his few ideas, is credited
with a profundity which he does not possess."
But if time should prove Mr. Leacock to be
right — if prohibition and public ownership
of the railways should prove to be failures —
it is highly probable that he would find him-
self the victim of one of the keenest ironies
of fate. An attempt to remedy conditions
would probably force him to elaborate from his
personal experience two more of the economic
paradoxes with which he deals from time to
time in his serious writing. For instance,
in an American State where prohibition has
been in force for many years it was found
impossible to repeal it, not because of the
strength of the prohibitionists, but because
all the bootleggers and blind-piggers who
profited by the illicit traffic in liquor supported
the law. Under a licensing system their pro-
fits would disappear, so they supported the law
they were breaking. Similarly, if the public
ownership of railways should prove a failure
— 151 —
it is logical to suppose that the chief opposition
to a change would come from the powerful
private railway interests that found competition
with the government easy, and consequently
would not want to face the keener competition
they would find if the railroads were de-
In addition to his literary success, Mr. Lea-
cock has made an unusual success as a humor-
ous lecturer. England, Scotland and Wales,
as well as the United States and Canada, have
listened to him and laughed— and the only
complaint is that audiences cannot listen
enough because they laugh so much. It has
not been my good fortune to hear and see him
as a lecturer. From those who have heard him
I understand that seeing is just as necessary
to a full enjoyment as hearing, for he is an actor
as well as a speaker. When he tells a story,
it is his habit to assume a part in it and act it
during the tellmg. The following report from
the London Spectator gives a suggestion of
both the matter and the method of his lectures.
"Once he was playing in that wonderful
piece, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' The audience
would remember that the climax of the play
— 152 —
was when Eliza crosses the river on lumps of
ice. At the beginning of the run he was one of
these lumps of ice, and he described how he
put his very heart into it, and swayed and
shifted as Eliza stepped on him, and when the
manager saw that lump of ice he knew that his
heart was in his work. Then his chance
came. Just as EUza had to cross the ice one
of the characters had to say to her : *Hark,
they have put the bloodhounds on your track
already !' and then a dog had to howl off. They
had had a real dog to do it, but one day the dog
was sick. You know how we actors climb
on one another's shoulders. I was sorry for
the dog but — ' Anyhow the manager had said
tohim, *Mr. Leacock, can you howl?' Blush-
ingly Mr. Leacock had admitted that he
thought he could howl, and from that day the
part had been his."
The critic of the Spectator makes a comment
on Mr. Leacock's humor that may be passed on
without comment: —
"His jokes are oftenest produced by the
magnifying-glass method, which is the same
as the method of exaggeration, which, again, is
the same as the reductio ad absurdum."
— 153 —
An American critic of Mr. Leacock's method
as a lecturer is less learned, but more illumi-
"Leacock hurt me at the Brunswick yester-
day. He strained my stomach. I was wear-
ing a suit that was made in 1902, and I split
the back of the vest. I laughed until I had a
sort of reflex, double-acting come-back of the
diaphragm that was really painful. And he
was merciless. I would straighten out my
face and determine not to be an absolute fool;
but Leacock kept coming back at us with Harry
Lauder stuff, and Mark Twain stuff, so far as
acting goes ; and Jim Riley stuff, and all of it
Stephen Leacock's home-brew, absolutely
fresh and full of kick. And bang! would go
a ligament of my vest and a sinew of my will.
I then cast all discretion to the winds and
joined the merry throng. I have heard no such
cachinnation in a sedate audience before in
"He should be fined for cruelty to sedate
people. He should pay me for the back of my
vest. I will bet that the janitor picked up a
bushel of buttons from the floor after Leacock
"It is a wonderful gift, this histrionic power
— 154 —
over audiences. It is a form of auto-intoxica-
tion, too, when it attacks a professor of politi-
cal economy and sets him to going around and
making the world laugh, even against its set
and fixed habits of declining to laugh at any-
"This Canadian professor, with his hair in
a bang, his twinkling eyes, his sturdy figure,
his outdoor bronze, his deep voice, his sort of
'Behind the Beyond' imagination that turns
laughs against himself, can doubtless move to
tears, if he please, as easily as to laughter."
The fundamental characteristic of Mr. Lea-
cock's writing, both serious and humorous, is
intellectual fairness. He takes the trouble to^/
know what he is writing about, whether his
purpose at the moment is to instruct or to
amuse. Many of his lighter sketches are
scarcely humorous. They are singularly clear
studies of things as they are, and these things
seem funny because we never before saw them
so clearly. Of course every serious observa-
tion or statement is inevitably followed by an
absurd, nonsensical, or humorous afterthought,
but that does not detract from the soundness
of the serious part. When he burlesques the
modern problem play in "Back of the Beyond,"
— 155 —
it is at bottom a searching analysis of that
particular form of the drama.
But though in his serious writing historical
dignity is never violated, the humorist was
nevertheless awake and storing up material
that emerges as burlesque later on. For in-
stance, it seems very good burlesque when the
rector of St. Asaph's ''bowed to Episcopalians,
nodded amiably to Presbyterians, and even ac-
knowledged with his lifted hand the passing
of persons of graver forms of error."
But Leacock, the historian, records gravely
that in the days of "John, by Divine permission,
first Bishop of Toronto," this description was
seriously embodied in a public document.
We find that in a petition addressed to Par-
liament Bishop Strachan had protested against
an educational programme which "placed all
forms of error on an equality with truth" —
truth in that case being AngUcanism.
Although his volume in "The Makers of
Canada" series gives evidence of much re-
search and sets forth impartially the establish-
ment of responsible government, there is no
reason to suspect that it was a piece of drud-
gery and hackwork. The grave historian
quotes with evident relish from the fierce
— 156 —
polemics and fiery speeches of that embittered
time. And in spite of the fact that Mr. Lea-
cock mentions with evident pride that he is a
Conservative he sets forth justly the great
work performed by the Reformers who fought
the battle of popular rights against an in-
While he voices freely his disrespect for
classical political economy and, as one critic
has said, "has applied to it the cruel test of
common-sense," His "Elements of Political
Economy" is a work of academic thorough-
ness, based on a wide survey of that over-
crowded field. Only "a tough capacity for
reading" could have enabled him to famil-
iarize himself with the cloud of witnesses
when bringing this subject into court. He
must have "swallowed libraries whole" and di-
gested them before producing this lucid and or-
derly presentation of political science, which is
now used as an authoritative text-book in our
schools and colleges. And if you read one of
his satirical sketches, such as "A Little Dinner
with Mr. Lucullus Fyshe," you will find that
his knowledge of business methods and con-
ditions is searching and accurate. The amaz-
ing thing about Mr. Leacock is that, with his
— 157 —
thorough grasp of the serious aspects of life,
he has not lost his sense of bo3dsh playfulness.
He can lay aside his books at any time and
"play at push pin with the boys." Butno one
who makes a survey of his work as a whole
can doubt that if he chose to stick to his books
and to cultivate a pose of unshakable serious-
ness, he could have been as dull and depend-
able as any college professor or eminent editor
of them all.
Fortunately his high spirits could not be sub-
dued to that that it worked in, and now that his
fame as a jester has obscured his authority as
an educationist, he need feel no regrets.
The world has many sober-minded citizens
who can deal with history and political econ-
omy, and altogether too few who have the
genius to make life more endurable with humor
But there is one point that gives me some
disquietude. Mr. Leacock has poked fun at
everything and everybody — except the modern
enterprising publisher. And yet the publisher
has deserved his satire more than any one
else. If any one has done Mr. Leacock harm
it is the pubHshers, S3mdicate managers and
directors of lecture bureaus. It is true that he
— 158 —
gives them a love tap in his essay on O. Henry.
This shows that he is aware of the danger of
listening to their blandishments, and that is a
hopeful sign. But they have already tried to
direct the current of his literary output, as is
shown in the following announcement which
ushered "Winsome Winnie and other Non-
sense Novels" to the public:
"It is in response to repeated requests that
these new novels have been written."
Quite so. Because "Nonsense Novels"
were a wonderful success the publisher wanted
more of them. I can imagine him beside Lea-
cock's desk, "squat like a toad," and urging
the certain profits to be made from a new
book of burlesques. Or perhaps he took him
to the top of a high mountain and showed him
the world full of people laughing at "Nonsense
Novels" — and the rich royalties pouring into
the bank account of the author. If so, it is a
pity that Leacock did not push him over a cliff
and watch him land in a squashy mess among
the fossils and geological specimens in the
talus at its base.
The curse of modern literature is the enter-
prising publisher. If one book succeeds, every
pubUsher tries to lure or bulldoze the author,
— 159 —
and every other author over whom he has in-
fluence, to write another book like it that will
be a sure winner. And if the harried author
cannot do it the enterprising pubHsher takes
whatever book he v/rites and puts a jacket on
it that will fool the public into thinking that
it is like the prosperous best seller of the hour.
Some day an enterprising publisher will un-
dertake to publish the Bible along up-to-date
lines. When a society novel makes a hit and
sets the fashion, he will issue the Bible with a
jacket by Montgomery Flagg, showing Vashti or
the Shulamite. When "he man" stories are
the rage, he will issue it with a Lyendecker
jacket, showing Samson leaning on the jaw-
bone after doing his day's work. A rage for
"Back-to-Nature" novels will inspire a new
edition with a jacket by Livingstone Bull, show-
ing Nebuchadnezzar out to pasture.
Up to the present the pubHsher has not done
Mr. Leacock as much harm as he has to most
modern authors who have had a measure of
success, but I shall not feel satisfied until he
turns and rends him. Only then can we be
sure that he has realized the danger and that
his genius is free to develop along its own lines.
— 160 —
Not that the later burlesques are without
merit. The trouble is that they are following
an indicated line of success — and that way
badness lies. Although Mr. Leacock's later
books have been hailed with delight and an
unvarying chorus of laughter, there are many
sketches that have as much pathos as humor.
Take the "HohenzoUerns in America," for
instance. The study of the deposed Kaiser
is essentially pathetic, and, although it may
seem to many a broadly comic touch to marry
off the faithful princess to the iceman, one
cannot help hoping and believing that she lived
happily ever after.
If the publishers and the pubhc could get
over their hysterical demand for comedy and
read Stephen Leacock's writings with dis-
cernment, they would soon realize that his
power of pathos is never less artistically sure
than his command of laughter. His great dan-
ger is that he may be misled by an insistent
and profitable demand into the modern evil
of speciaUzation — an evil with which he has
dealt in his literary essays — and will give too
free a rein to his genius for fun. As matters
stand he is one of the truest interpreters of
— 161 —
"^ American and Canadian life that we have had ;
but by giving free play to all his powers he may
finally win recognition as a broad and sym-
pathetic interpreter of life as a whole.
In the classical masterpieces of the past
great scenes and speeches and characteriza-
tions were shown against a background pre-
pared by the poet or literary artist. In the
lapse of time the great passages tend to be-
come separated from their matrix and are
enjoyed by themselves without the cumber-
some machinery by which they were introduced.
The conditions of modern literary expression
— through magazines and serial publications —
— are such that a writer elaborates his fine
scenes without other background than the
evanescent interests of his own time, that
may or may not have served as their inspira-
tion. To the casual student this gives to
much contemporary writing a fragmentary
aspect. It may even give a sense of dis-
couragement to the artist himself. Mr. Lea-
cock somewhere expresses a sense of the tri-
'vial character of his sketches, as compared
with the broad canvases of the great mas-
ters of the past. This dissatisfaction is unwar-
ranted, for against the background of his own
— 162 —
time the mass of his productions has a scope
and richness that will enable it to bear compari-
son with the work of master artists working in
other times and in other circumstances. As
time passes, his finest work will tend to enter
into comparison with the great passages that
embody the literature of the past. How it
will bear this comparison no critic can deter-
mine, but Mr. Leacock need not fear for the
future of his work on the ground that it lacks
breadth and volume. He has produced under
the conditions and limitations of his own time,
just as the acknowledged masters produced
under the conditions and limitations of their
times, and in the final verdict of mankind his
work will be judged with the same impartiality
as that of the estabUshed master writers, whose
power he admires and applauds.
BALDWIN, LAFONTAINE, HINCKS
Responsible government. Toronto, Morang
& Co., Ltd., 1907. Cloth, 8vo., xii and 371 pp.,
frontispiece (portrait). Vol. XIV of the Makers
of Canada, Parkman Edition.
BALDWIN, LAFONTAINE, HINCKS
Responsible government. Edition de Luxe.
Toronto, Morang & Co., Ltd., 1907. Cloth, 8vo.,
xii and 371 pp., frontispiece (portrait). Half-
title: The Makers of Canada, edited by Duncan
Campbell Scott, F.R.S.C, Pelham Edgar, Ph.D.,
and William Dawson Le Sueur, B.A., LL.D.,
F.R.S.C. "This edition is limited to Four Hundred
Signed and Numbered Sets, of which this is
Number . (Signed) George N. Morang."
ADVENTURERS OF THE FAR NORTH
A chronicle of the Arctic Seas. Toronto, Glas-
gow, Brook & Co., 1914. Blue leather, i2mo.,
vii and 152 pp., colored frontispiece, plates, por-
traits and folded map. Vol. XX of "Chronicles
of Canada" series, edited by George M. Wrong
and H. H. Langton.
THE MARINER OF ST. MALO
A chronicle of the voyages of Jacques Cartier.
Toronto, Glasgow, Brook & Co., 1915. Blue
leather, lamo., vii and 125 pp., colored frontis-
piece, plates, portraits, folded map. Vol. II of
"Chronicles of Canada" series, edited by George
M. Wrong and H. H. Langton.
— 167 —
THE DAWN OF CANADIAN HISTORY
A chronicle of aboriginal Canada. Toronto,
Glasgow, Brook & Co., 1915. Blue leather, i2mo.,
vii and 112 pp., colored frontispiece, plates, por-
traits. Vol. I of "Chronicles of Canada" series,
edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton.
WORKS ON ECONOMICS
ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
London, Constable; New York, Houghton,
Mifflin Co., 8vo., 1906.
ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Revised edition. London, Constable; New
York, Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1913. Cloth, 8vo.,
ix and 417 pp., folded table.
THE UNSOLVED RIDDLE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
London and New York, John Lane Co., Toronto,
S. B. Gundy, 1920. 8vo., 152 pp., cloth.
ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
New and enlarged edition. i2mo., xiii and
415 pp. London, Constable; New York, Houghton,
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WAR
Reprinted for the National Service Board of
Canada, Ottawa, 1917. Narrow Svo., sewed.
ESSAYS AND LITERARY STUDIES
Toronto, S. B. Gundy; London, John Lane Co.
1916. 310 pp., crown 8vo.
— 168 —
A book of sketches. Montreal, Gazette Print-
ing Co., Ltd., 1910. i2mo., paper boards, 125 pp.
London, John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1910.
8vo., 248 pp. Published in the United States by
John Lane Co., New York, 191 1.
London, John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1910.
8vo., 230 pp. Published in the United States by
John Lane, New York, 191 1.
SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN
London and New York, John Lane Co., 1912.
Frontispiece by Cyrus Cuneo; 8vo., 112 and 264
BEHIND THE BEYOND: and Other Contributions
to Human Knowledge
London and New York, John Lane Co., i9i3«
8vo., 195 pp., illustrated by A. H. Fish.
ARCADIAN ADVENTURES WITH THE IDLE RICH
London and New York, 1914- John Lane Co.,
8vo., 280 pp.
THE METHODS OF MR. SELLYER
A book store study. New York, The John
Lane Co., 1914. i2mo., 34 pp. "Presented as a
souvenir to those attending the Annual Conven-
tion of the American Booksellers' Association,
MOONBEAMS FROM THE LARGER LUNACY
London and New York, John Lane Co., i9iS-
8vo., 282 pp.
— im —
THE MARIONETTES' CALENDAR, 1916
Drawings by A. H. Fish. New York, John Lane
Co., 1915. Folio paper.
MARIONETTES' ENGAGEMENT BOOK
Drawings by A. H. Fish. New York, John Lane
Co., 1915. 8vo., illustrated paper.
Sketches and satires on the follies of the day.
London and New York, John Lane Co., 191 6.
8vo., 312 pp.
London and New York, John Lane Co., 191 7.
8vo., 294 pp.
THE HOHENZOLLERNS IN AMERICA: with the
Bolsheviki in Berlin and Other Impossibilities.
S. B. Gundy, Toronto; John Lane Co., London
and New York. 1919. i2mo. 269 pp.
WINSOME WINNIE AND OTHER NEW NON-
London and New York, John Lane Co., 1920.
THE LETTERS OF SI WHIFFLETREE— FRESH-
Edited by Frank D. Genest, with a Preface by
Stephen Leacock. Illustrated by G. E. Tremble.
Publisher's jacket in red lettering and with a red
illustration not in the book. Montreal, 1921.
(ix) +69 pp., 5" X 7", yellow boards.
MY DISCOVERY OF ENGLAND
London and New York, John Lane Co., viii and
264 pp. London, John Lane Co., 1922.
OVER THE FOOTLIGHTS
John Lane Co., London, and Dodd, Mead & Co.,
New York, 1923. Svo., 280 pp.
— 170 —
John Lane Co., London, and Dodd, Mead & Co.,
New York, Oxford Press, Toronto, 1923. 8vo.,
THE GARDEN OF FOLLY
S. B. Gundy, Toronto; John Lane Co., London,
and Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1924. 8vo.,
(xi) + 282 pp.
(Longer Magazine articles, other than those re-printed
RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT IN THE BRITISH
The American Political Science Review, Wash-
ington, Vol. i, pp. 355-392, May, 1907.
SIR WILFRID LAURIER'S VICTORY
National Review, London, Vol. Ivii, pp. 826-833,
CANADA AND THE MONROE DOCTRINE
University Magazine, Montreal, Vol. viii, pp.
351-374. Oct., 1909.
CANADA AND THE IMMIGRATION PROBLEM
National Review, London, Vol. Ivii, pp. 316-327,
April, 191 1.
THE GREAT VICTORY IN CANADA
National Review, London, Vol. Iviii, pp. 381-
392, Nov., 1911.
THE CANADIAN SENATE AND THE NAVAL BILL
National Review, London. Vol. Ixvi. pp. 986-
998, July, 1913.
— 171 —
SOCIAL REFORM IN THE COMING CENTURY
(Two articles) Toronto Saturday Night,
AMERICAN HUMOR, Nineteenth Century.
Vol. Ixxvi, pp. 444-457, Aug., 1914.
EDWIN DROOD IS ALIVE
The Bellman, Minneapolis. Vol. xxiv, pp. 655-
662, June 15, 1918.
THE WARNING OF PROHIBITION IN AMERICA
National Review, London. Vol. Ixxiii, pp. 680-
687, July, 1919.
ON THE ART OF TAKING A VACATION
The Outlook, New York, Vol. cxxviii, pp. 160-
162, May 25, 1921.
ON THE GRAIN OF TRUTH IN POPULAR
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada.
May, 1923. Third Series, vol. xvii.
BOOK AND MAGAZINE REFERENCES
Canadian Magazine, Vol. 40, p. 91, November,
1912; American Magazine, Vol. 77, p. 5, June,
STEPHEN LEACOCK, Ph.D.: Savant and Humourist
J. P. Collins. Living Age, Vol, 291, pp. 798-
804, December 30, 1916.
TO STEPHEN LEACOCK
Poem. Living Age, Vol. 292, p. 812, March 31,
— 172 —
PROF. LEACOCK AND THE OTHER PROFS.
W. T. Lamed. New Republic, Vol. 9, p. 299,
January 13, 191 7.
Independent, Vol. 80, p. 404, December 14, 1914-
STEPHEN LEACOCK: Humorist
Living Age, Vol. 311, p. 352-4* November 5,
World's Work, Vol. 42, p. 181, June, 1921.
BILLIONAIRE OF HUMOUR
By Bruce Barton. Portrait. Collier's, Vol. 69,
p. 9, April 15, 1922.
Outlook, Vol. 130, p. I47» January 25, 1922.
VISIT TO CANADIAN AUTHOR
William Caldwell. Canadian Magazine, Vol.
59, PP- 55-60, May, 1922.
MR. STEPHEN LEACOCK'S LECTURE ON DRAMA
Spectator, Vol. 127, pp. 589-91, November 5,
MORE AUTHORS AND I
By C. Lewis Hind. London: John Lane, The
Bodley Head, 1922. Crown 8vo. Sage-green
buckram sides, buff linen back, viii + 302 pp.
No. 31 — Stephen Leacock, pp. 180-185.
— 173 —
/4, B, and C, 8; 129.
A Hero in Homespun, quoted in full, 65-81.
Alice in Wonderland, 7; 140,
Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich," 63.
Boarding-house Geometry, quoted in full, 29-32.
Bull, Livingstone, 160.
Carroll, Lewis, 140.
Charles II, 151-
Church of England, 5.
Conservative Party, 5.
Detroit Free Press, 7.
Doomer, Mr., 83-93; 132.
Elements of Political Economy, 8; 157.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 7.
Fetching the Doctor, 19.
Flagg, Montgomery, 160.
Frenzied Fiction, 11/^.
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col., 11.
HohenzoUerns in America, 161.
— 174 —
Imperial Organization, 5.
Lake Couchiching, holidaying at, 12.
Lake Simcoe, home near, 2.
Lamb, Charles, 129.
Lane, John, 6; 9.
Leacock, Stephen, autobiography, 2-7; birthplace, 2;
came to Canada, 2; boyhood, 19; education,
2-4; first reputation, 7; first payment for writing,
8; life at Toronto University, lo-ii; as teacher,
3; marriage, 11; interviewed, 13; at McGill
University, 14; English comments, 14-18; as a
lecturer, 152-155; early himiorous efforts, 128;
in youth, 129-130; his art, 133; master of non-
sense, 140; development of art, 141; as satirist,
143,146; the real man, 146-147; a writer of
pathos, 147; as an interpreter of life, 147-149;
on American humour, 150; prohibition and public
ownership, 151; intellectual fairness, 155; as
Leacock, Stephen Lushinghton, 12.
Leacock, Mrs. Stephen (Beatrix Hamilton of Toronto),
Literary Lapses, 6, 7, 8; 18; 28; 32.
Little Church around the Corner, 11.
Mark Twain, 10; 129.
Mausoleum Club,3S; 37; 45; 132.
McGill University, 4.
Miller, Hugh, 144.
Milton, John, 10; 144.
Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy, 93.
My Discovery of England, quoted from, 1 17-123.
My Financial Career, quoted in full, 2 1-28; reviewed,
— 175 —
Night Life in Paris, 145.
Nonsense Novels, 6, 9; 81; 139-141; 142; 159.
Orillia, home at, 18.
Oxford Smoking, 117-123.
Political Science, 4, 5 ; opinion of, 149.
Political Science Association of America, 5.
Royal Colonial Institute, 5.
Saturday Night, 7.
Spectator, quotation from, 153.
Standard, Montreal, quotation from, 12.
Strachan, Bishop, 156.
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, 45; 136; 142.
Swanmoor, bom at, 2.
The Little Girl in Green, 47-63.
The Sorrows of a Summer Guest, 95-114.
The spiritual Outlook of Mr. Doomer, 83-93.
The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, 146; 149.
University of Chicago, 4.
University of Toronto, 3; 10.
Upper Canada College, 2, 3.
Watterson, Henry, 144.
Winsome Winnie and other Nonsense Novels, 159.
— 176 —
THIS BOOK IS A
Stephen Leacock. .E13